Haven Case Study


Using cultural media production & distribution to uplift housing justice to local Bay Area voters.

HAVEN dreams, sings, dances, and performs in order to inspire everyday people towards agency to realize our greatest collective possibility….  

HAVEN is a cultural media production and distribution initiative for housing justice aimed at local Bay Area voters. It is a project of EastSide Arts Alliance conceived by artist-activist Ryan Austin (RyanNicole), inspired by the Shift The Narrative Table convenings facilitated by the Non Profit Housing Association and the San Francisco Foundation. 

Objectively, HAVEN is purposed to engage local artists, media makers, experts, and leaders in the related fields of housing and racial justice to share their perspectives, experiences and testimonies on housing in the Bay Area. Through the creation and distribution of social justice media (music, art, film, comedy, memes), HAVEN invites members of the Bay Area community to radically imagine more just neighborhoods and cities. 

Featuring RyanNicole, Jenns Johns, Kev Choice, Daveed Diggs, Fantastic Negrito, and many more, the virtual concert invites members of the community to radically imagine more just neighborhoods and cities and engage, participate, and vote.

HAVEN combines the heart of grassroots artistic endeavors and powers it with commercial media access. Outcomes of this project included: increased visibility on our messages; direct outreach, invitation, and promotion of content to audiences identified as key stakeholders for our issues of housing and racial justice.

Learn more about Haven here and read on for a deeper dive into this case study’s goals, outputs, and outcomes.


The HAVEN Project set out to: 

1) Engage a primary target audience of eligible Oakland voters, ages 25 – 60 with social justice media intended to affirm and enlighten, and offer a counter-narrative to traditional messages pertaining to housing in commercial media outlets. 


Haven partnered with local organizations including Oakland & Bay Rising, Oakland Rising Action, F.U.N. Manifesto, Trap The Vote, #RapTheVote (African American Arts & Culture Complex, SF), The Kapor Center, & The Town Experience. Engagement efforts relied heavily on online and social media presence, leveraging the web, Instagram, and Facebook presence of various artists and organizations. Additionally, they hosted two live, in-person events prior to and on election day.

The HAVEN Project in partnership with artist/activist Jenn Johns and the F.U.N. Manifesto facilitated CIVICS 101, a voter education and engagement week-long series on Instagram LIVE. Between October 12 – 16, 2020, we curated a list of local racial and housing justice related ballot measures to demystify for the general public. We hosted 5 hour-long, lunch time conversations with experts like Tonya Love (political director & campaign manager, Fife) and Liz Suk (Oakland Rising Action, political director). All totaled, CIVICS 101 received 2220 unique views with 300 shares. Anecdotal reactions from CIVICS 101 came streaming in during the live video presentations. Some of the feedback included:

    • “Thank you for providing this resource. I am a fairly new California resident and am glad to learn what is going on from a trusted source.”
    • “Y’all stay doing the good work. This is powerfully informative.”
    • “Without this, I probably would’ve just ended up voting for the president and that’s it.” CIVICS 101 Web Fliers & Schedule Breakdown


Oakland Rising Action, which engages in aggressive voter education and GOTV operations that encourage Oakland’s working-class, immigrant, and communities of color to think critically about voting for or against issues, policies and candidates based on our shared vision and values for an Oakland for all. We worked together to produce two virtual GOTV and Voter Education events which were attended live by 200+ people. By election day those events had over 800 views total.

Finally, the HAVEN Project partnered with the KAPOR Center and The Town Experience (@thetownexperience) to host a culturally-relevant polling center in West Oakland, a traditionally disenfranchised voter location. In addition to voting, the event featured food trucks, music, COVID testing, and a live screening of The HAVEN Project Documentary. We also coordinated with 5 local artists (Kev Choice, RyanNicole, Adesha, CoCo Peila, & Netta Brielle) who combined have an organic, social media reach surpassing 45,000 people within our target demographic. They leveraged their social media throughout the day to invite wary voters to come down to the polling station and cast their votes. The polling site engaged 2k voters in a community with historically low voter turnout, and increased public confidence in the electoral process by creating a safe, diverse, engaging environment that inspired more people in all communities to exercise their right to vote.

2) Enlist a cadre of 3 local marquee artists to share songs and testimonies on housing justice 

Originally, the hope was to enlist local artists Jenn Johns, Kev Choice, & Karega Bailey to share preexisting songs about racial and housing justice with the HAVEN Project. We planned to produce 1 – 3 unique music videos for each offering and stream those videos during a live concert on October 22nd, 2020 (two weeks prior to election Tuesday). We were able to exceed our artist engagement by 18, expanding our presence to include performances, pop-up appearances, media drops, sketches, and music videos. Once artists learned of our goals and purpose, we had more input than we could handle.

3) Produce a 30-45 minute concert to be streamed virtually for viewers to enjoy from the safety of their homes on October 22nd, 2020 and throughout election season. 

The HAVEN Project initially hoped to produce a 30 minute live stream concert on October 22nd, but our timeline shifted once we realized the interest from artists and partner organizations. After gathering over 6 hours of footage including interviews, music videos, and drops from artists, we elected to push the release date of the final Virtual Mixtape Documentary to November 1st, 2020, two days prior to election. Haven streamed the documentary live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as well as hosting a live event featuring a DJ at the historic Oakland Tribune Tower lot. Their concert garnered over 4000 views and their website 20,000 impressions through unique individual and partner shares. 

Next Steps

Haven is in the midst of re-releasing an improved cut of the film — THE REMIX — and will re-release as part of a film screening during May 2021 for Affordable Housing Month. They continue to explore additional opportunities to show the film and screen segments. 

Their hope is that in the summer of 2021 we can partner with Black Music Matters & Black Solidarity Market events at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA and a live concert featuring the artists who both took part and wanted to participate in HAVEN last year. A comprehensive list of artists and contributors to The HAVEN Project documentary, social, and live engagement efforts are as follows: 


Adesha  Singer/Songwriter
Alan Dones  Managing Partner & CEO, musician Strategic Urban Development 

Alliance, LLC

Blake Simmons  Director  People’s Breakfast Oakland
Carroll Fife City Council Member, District 3, Director ACCE  City of Oakland
Chris Riggins  Comedian
CoCo Peila  Rapper/Activist
Destani Wolf  Vocalist, Songwriter  Cirque Du Soliel
Don Reed  Comedian, Writer, Actor
Gina Madrid  Rapper/Activist
Goapele  Singer/Songwriter
Grand Nationxl  Hip Hop Group
Jennifer Johns  Singer/Songwriter/Activist  F.U.N Manifesto/CIVICS 101
Karega Bailey  Rapper/Poet  From the band Sol Development
Kev Choice  Musician/Producer/Activist
Netta Brielle  Singer/Songwriter


Director, “Random Citizen”  RMM Media, Fly Media Studios
Rocky Rivera  Rapper/Author
Ruby Ibarra  Rapper/Spoken Word Artist
RyanNicole  Director/Rapper  HAVEN
ST Spittin  Rapper
Zumbi  Rapper  From Zion I
Fantastic Negrito  Singer/Songwriter  BlackBall Universe

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