Out of the five musicians who donated their time and creative energy to Hit Parade’s Live Rehearsals, held in July of this year, Ahkeel Mestayer was the youngest. Mestayer is a musician, student, activist, and Mission local. He plays percussion for Soltron, a local band whose presence pushes back against assumptions about out-migration and disappearance in the Mission.
Here is how the band describes their mission:
“Soltron was born in 2014 out of the rich arts community of San Francisco’s Mission District. Their sound echoes the traditions of the Afro-Latino musical diaspora while artfully blending electronic, hip-hop and rock influences. The band’s music addresses gentrification, displaced youth and the struggle to survive while expressing the joy, beauty and pride of their cultural traditions and family ties.” (http://soltronsf.com)
And check out Mestayer speaking with Roberto Hernandez (“Our Mission No Eviction”) about growing up in the Mission, seeing Latinx business owners, being able to speak Spanish in the neighborhood and what it means when all that starts disappearing. The short conversation was recorded for StoryCorps (Cross Currents, KALW News).