It may be sixteen and half years since the death of Mike "DREAM" Francisco, but the dream and legacy of this widely beloved pioneering East Bay artist/activist is more alive than ever. This fact was made abundantly clear at last Saturday's DREAM Day 2016 at the Greenpeace Yards in West Oakland.
Organized by friends and family, notably DJ Willie Maze and DREAM's brother Lil' John Francisco, the annual heartfelt homage to DREAM celebrates the life and legacy of the Bay Area aerosol art pioneer who has become a bona fide Bay Area legend. That most refer to him as "King DREAM" demonstrates just how revered he is by so many today.
DREAM was equally artist and activist. A pioneering figure in Bay Area graffiti history, DREAM was first and foremost a down-to-earth, real good person. He was instantly likable, always sharing and giving props to others, never ungrateful, but readily displaying his passion for hip-hop in all its elements, and for justice in his community. If DREAM were alive today he would be active in Oakland in the fight against injustices. Back in the summer of 1992, DREAM and Plan B (murdered a month later) were at a Spice-1 video shoot where they painted a big "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE" piece for the East Bay rapper's Jive Records single "Welcome To The Ghetto." The following year DREAM, with other artists, continued the theme via the "No Justice No Peace" art exhibit at the Pro Arts Gallery in Downtown Oakland. The message of that 1993 Oakland art exhibit titled "No Justice No Peace" exhibit? "The problems that go on in our community, as far as East Oakland and any other ghetto out there. You deal with police brutality. You deal with the oppression by the city and by the government. You deal with that all the time," said DREAM in an interview with Melinda Bell at the time.