A breeding ground for indie artistic ventures ranging from the latest hit movies by Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You) and Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting) as well as GRAMMY Award-winning albums from musicians such as Fantastic Negrito (Please Don’t Be Dead), Oakland serves as a wonderland of creative inspiration for the poignant narratives defining Sh8peshifter’s thriving career. As an entrepreneur, Zakiya Harris (a.k.a. Sh8peshifter) is a visionary figure helping to advance opportunities for Oakland’s under-resourced youth in the black community. By night, Sh8peshifter enchants audiences through a kaleidoscopic lens with her fusion of hip-hop and electronic beats dripping with supernatural vocals. On her latest EP, After Darkness (release date: September 27), Sh8peshifter leaves an indisputable impression as a force on the front lines fighting for the betterment of Oakland.
An Oakland native herself, Sh8peshifter traverses the globe in search of enlightenment within diverse genres of music and dance. From Senegal to Jamaica to New York City, her travels inform her sense of culture. Her home of East Oakland silhouettes a fierce artistic identity sculpted over the past two decades. After graduating Rutgers University (New Jersey) while working in public interest law at the World Trade Center, Sh8peshifter emerged as a performer of note in the Brooklyn club scene during the hip-hop renaissance instituted by luminaries Mos Def and Talib Kweli; the latter of which Sh8peshifter opened for at San Francisco’s live music institution, Stern Grove Festival.
Upon returning from NYC to Oakland, Sh8peshifter’s grassroots pursuits led to co-founding nationally lauded initiatives, including Impact Hub Oakland, Hack the Hood (winner of Google Impact Challenge grant for $500,000), and Toyota’s Grind for the Green. As a speaker, Sh8peshifter has presented at Tedx Denver, The National Convention of Black Journalists, and the NAACP National Convention. With the release of her book, Sh8peshift Your Life: The Creative Entrepreneur’s Guide to Self-Love, Self-Mastery & Fearless Self-Expression, Sh8peshifter leads workshops at prestigious universities across the country, including at University of California, Santa Cruz; San Francisco State; Livingstone College, and others. Sh8peshifter was named “One to Watch” by Grist.org.
While living the American dream as a happily married black woman, homeowner, and successful entrepreneur, Sh8peshifter’s life was swept up in a whirlwind of change a decade ago when she lost her home to foreclosure at the height of 2009’s housing crisis. A mother of a beautiful daughter, Sh8peshifter ended her marriage and was laid off while non-profit budgets diminished during the Great Recession. Following a bicycle accident that left a permanent facial scar, Sh8peshifter channeled her losses into a mantra destined for exponential growth. At this crossroads in her life, Sh8peshifter fully realized her creative impetus and took a deep dive into releasing music.
Today Glide is excited to premiere” Open My Door”, one of the standout tracks on Sh8peshifter’s new EP. With a wonky, psychedelic beat, the oozes sensuality as Sh8peshifter layers her vocals. Throughout the track, she fuses R&B, dance, and hip-hop into her vocal stylings, making for a compelling listen that takes you into different sonic realms. Like the EP as a whole, the song reveals an empowered artist through a kaleidoscopic lens of hip-hop and electronic beats.
Sh8peshifter describes “Open My Door” as “a song about love, it embodies one of the hardest breakups of my life. Where I opened my door to someone who hurt me emotionally and I just couldn’t let go. The chorus encompasses the question of why I opened my door for someone who wasn’t worthy of my love. Writing the song was the medicine that allowed me to get over the trauma of that relationship and move forward with the understanding that I am worthy of more.”