DREAM DAY 2016: Celebrating Life & Legacy of Mike "DREAM" Francisco [1969 - 2000]

Posted by Billyjam, August 19, 2016 03:10pm | Post a Comment

It is now sixteen and a half years since internationally revered, pioneering Bay Area street artist Mike "DREAM" Francisco was senselessly murdered in Oakland CA. But both the positive influence and the iconic status of the beloved artist/activist & integral part of Bay Area hip-hop history from the 80's up until his death in February 2000, has grown substantially in the years since. This is thanks in part to his family and friends keeping his legacy alive via such things as the annual DREAM DAY celebrations that have taken place every year since his tragic death. DREAM would have celebrated his 47th birthday this week. These annual tributes to DREAM have taken place thanks to the tireless committed efforts (nearly two decades later) of such dedicated folks as Mike's brother John Francisco, and DJ WillieMaze of the longtime Local1200 turntable crew.  In fact WillieMaze was the one instrumental in accomplishing in getting the DreamDay Proclamation passed through the City of Oakland. Following him investing his time and patience wading through all the red tape, finally six years ago, the City of Oakland officially proclaimed every February 17th "Dream Day."  That bittersweet date is when DREAM was murdered in Oakland back in 2000 during a random armed robbery on San Pablo Ave. A few years ago OPD solved DREAM's murder when they arrested two guys from West Oakland (both were pretty young at the time of the crime) who are each currently serving 25-to-life sentences in prison.

"Celebrating the life and legacy of Mike “Dream” Francisco," DREAM DAY 2016 will take place tomorrow, August 20th in West Oakland. Presented by the TDK Crew, Nvr Ovr, and MTN Colors the all ages, event will take place at the Greenpeace Yard near West Oakland BART at 955 7th Street, Oakland from 1pm to 7pm. Performers at DREAM DAY 2016 will include Equipto, Husalah and Nump. The latter artist, who recorded a heartfelt tribute to DREAM (see video below), said of the late great artist who shared his heritage that,  "Not only a Filipino Bay legend but a graffiti hero to so many." As in past years, tomorrow's event will partly benefit DREAM's teenage son Akil who was only 10 months old when his pops was murdered. DREAM's brother John Francisco (aka Lil' John of the TDK crew) talked to the Amoeblog this week about his late sibling's legacy. "DREAM meant a lot to Oakland! He helped put Oakland and the Bay Area on the map as far as hip-hop goes out here. His early pieces were far ahead of his time. Cats, pioneers of the writing scene out on the East Coast respected him to the fullest.  A lot of, if not most of the artwork / /burners he put up were gifts to the community [that] he rarely got paid for," accurately noted Lil' John of his late brother, offering an insight into why he commanded and commands to this day so much respect and love from the hip-hop community. For more proof of this unbridled love that DREAM always displayed for his community, iisten to the excerpt of 1992 interview below I did with DREAM back in August 1992, not long after Oakland hip-hop artist/acivist and his good friend PLAN BEE was murdered. 

"DREAM was very well known not just out here in the Bay but worldwide," noted Lil' John, adding, "Keep in mind he garnered all this respect and love from writers all over the world pre-Internet! He used to write and receive letters from people from Germany, Japan, Australia, Italy, Europe, East Coast, New York and Philly, Chicago just to name a few." Fellow Bay Area street art pioneer,
San Francisco-born artist SPIE, told the Amoeblog how, "I think about DREAM every day. A lot of us do. It keeps me going sometimes. He was a positive spirit. And it's pretty amazing how DREAM's legacy just keeps growing. He has become this really important figure to a lot of youth out here who may never have even met him."

It was in 1987 when SPIE first met DREAM when writers from all over the Bay Area converged on the Powell Street BART station for an informal graffiti meeting. SPIE and DREAM were among the group of young artists at that historic art gathering. That was around the time when the late artist had settled on the name DREAM. For many years he had been tagging under various other names. "One of the first DREAM sketches that he ever did, it was on his court papers," recalled SPIE. "He just got caught when he was like 16 years old and he [was] sitting in court and did a DREAM piece on the court paper as he sat in court!"

NUMP "Be Like Mike (feat. Reena Lynn)"

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Spie (8), Street Art (9), Graffiti (52), Mike Dream Francisco (9), Dream (13), King Dream (2), Dream Day 2016 (2), Williemaze (3), Tdk (8)