May 11, 2024

Just Keep Chasing: How the Bay Area Inspires Dreamers

<a href="" target="_self">Bobby L. Mitchell</a>

Bobby L. Mitchell

Founder & Content Creator

Bobby L. Mitchell

Founder & Content Creator

Unfiltered. Energetic. Distinctive. Beautiful. Expressive. Gritty. 

These are just a few words that embody the essence of the Bay Area, the place I’ve called home practically my entire life. It’s a region where dreams are chased, and the future is created, no matter the complexities we face daily. 

Each new day presents its own set of challenges, as well as the promise of new opportunities to keep us pushing forward. 

The combination of sunny skies, stunning nature, diverse culture, political activism, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit all play an integral part in shaping The Bay’s unique landscape. Many of us take living in this ever-evolving metropolis for granted (myself included). 

Don’t get me wrong; living in The Bay comes with struggles. Bay Area residents constantly fight against the sky-high cost of living, unreasonable home prices, steep rents, high crime, homelessness, and racial inequality, among other things. However, these conditions only push creators to find a way to survive and thrive in these conditions while pursuing their dreams.

We’ve all heard the timeless phrase, “New York: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” I wouldn’t take anything away from our creative brothers and sisters in the Big Apple, but I would argue that the same holds true for creators in the Bay Area. We face an uphill battle just trying to make ends meet. Yet we still figure out how to invest in our dreams, show up, and support steadfast creators in our community who are also trying to make a way out of no way. 

The road we’ve chosen hasn’t been easy. Many of us hold down full-time jobs plus a part-time gig. Or maybe we’re sharing a two-bedroom apartment with three roommates while trying to survive on Top Ramen and saltine crackers. We sacrifice going to happy hours and dinners on nights and weekends with friends and family and instead use the few resources we have at our disposal to pursue our dreams. 

But honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Bay’s expressive environment has granted past, present, and future greats an opportunity to connect with their gift and follow their passion. What other region has molded and produced legends like Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou, Sway Calloway, and Boots Riley, in addition to today’s generation of stars like LaRussell, Atsu, Mahershala Ali, and Kehlani? The list goes on.

Let’s keep it one hundred; the Bay Area is a creative wonderland that cultivates many talented individuals. Many of the actors, writers, directors, and designers we admire today began their careers in The Bay.

In my opinion, our region not being mentioned in the same breath as New York, Los Angeles, or Atlanta for creatives to live, work, and prosper is blasphemous. The Bay’s vibrant culture, natural beauty, and hustler spirit make it one of the ideal places to begin our creative journey.

It’s a lot of wonderful things about the Bay area and Oakland that I absolutely love. I wouldn’t change being from there by any stretch. Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali

There is an energy in The Bay Area that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. That’s why it’s so hard to pack up and leave, no matter our hardships. Virtually every ethnicity, cuisine, fashion, music, art, and business is represented throughout The Bay. This unique blending of cultures and innovation only contributes to the atmosphere, bringing with it a sense of belonging and liberation. 

Our diverse population, combined with the abundance of creatives from all over the world, empowers us to stretch our imaginations and explore our passion in a place that welcomes and encourages progress.

As big dreamers, we often have “crazy” and “unrealistic” aspirations to become successful artists, rappers, CEOs, dancers, and fill-in-the-blanks. We feel stifled in certain environments—especially those lacking creativity, freedom, and growth. We find ourselves dumbing down our ideas in conversations with family and playing a role with friends and colleagues to fit into the mold and be accepted. This inability to express ourselves freely and openly without fear of judgment causes unnecessary anxiety, stress, and depression, which in turn stagnates our creativity. 

However, another beautiful thing about The Bay is the richness of the creative community. There are many street festivals, panel discussions, networking events, and meetups for creatives to no longer feel like outcasts and find our tribe. Lively monthly block parties such as Oakland First Fridays and SF Downtown First Thursdays always bring the community out and provide an excellent opportunity to get outside, connect with fellow makers in your neighborhood, and support locals. 

Along with these, extravagant annual festivals like OutsideLands and Hiero Day present creatives the chance to showcase their work on a larger platform and connect and build with like-minded individuals from across the globe. Highly regarded establishments Rockridge and Nectar Social Club regularly host events that bring together creators and aspiring entrepreneurs from various industries to hang out, collaborate, and brainstorm. 

The Bay has so many opportunities, but we just have to know where to look. The more we explore our passions, the more these opportunities will present themselves. 

I challenge you to leave your comfort zone and dive into all The Bay offers (This is as much a note to myself as to you).

It’s been said many times that The Bay is a melting pot, a gumbo filled to the brim with culture, community, and creativity. But, for years, the Bay Area has received a bad rap. Often I catch myself complaining about the cost of living, the crime, the gas prices, the displacement, the traffic, the filth, shit, you name it. But when I take a step back and reflect, the pros of living in The Bay and chasing my dreams still outweigh the cons. 

For me, this is the birthplace of dreamers. It’s one of the few places that pushes you to flip the middle finger at your circumstances and chase your dreams. It’s a place where you could be scratching and clawing one day to survive, and the next day, you can thrive. 

The Bay is a region that encourages you to bet on yourself and make it happen—a metro overflowing with new ideas and possibilities—even if no one else believes. It’s a place that demands we dig a little deeper to discover our authentic selves in the chaos of everyday life. It’s a beautiful home to work, live, create and succeed. 

And no matter where my purpose in life takes me, The Bay will always be home. 

Our region was built for Dreamers by Dreamers. The hustler’s spirit is bred into our DNA. 

So, no matter what, never give up. Keep chasing.

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