MORE THAN COALITION, WE'RE TOGETHER
D.O.P.E. Collective (Dismantling Oppressive Patterns for Empowerment) is a project-based critical arts and education collaborative established in Buffalo, New York.
Individual relationships are the catalyst for greater change. We believe that real transformations happen not only at organizing tables, but also around dinner tables, spades tables and broken tables at a Bills tailgate.
Our commitment to financial security extends from personal to municipal levels, creating a stable foundation for progress. We invest in abstract thinkers and artists who bring visionary projects to reality, and connect people with multiple comprehensions – expanding our understanding of ourselves and the world.
WONDER. RESIST. REPEAT.
We want to encourage curiosity, self-preservative projects and a commitment to on-going growth to anyone who engages with our brand.
Our vision is to increase our presence, accessible and transformative programming, and call-to-actions, emphasizing personhood in all that we do.
Dismantling oppressive patterns is a challenging endeavor and with each self-empowered person, it makes that future more possible.
LEAD AND TEND
Tending is key to being a true leader. While leading determines our goals, tending determines our success.
Our values go beyond just achieving; we prioritize care.Responsibility and tenderness are essential to our service, and we strive to encourage others to do the same. With solidarity with others, and a respect for impact and intention, we create an organizing-cultureof compassionate leadership.
Today our definition of collectivism is a belief where nurturing and sustaining a collective means we nurture and sustain ourselves. That's why our creatives lead individual projects, and collectively introduced their D.O.P.E. shop.
Domo Caps© is more than a product, it's an act of self-sufficiency, resilience and celebrating a brand trust almost ten years in the making.
For us, becoming a company was the appropriate choice - it gave us the freedom to do things our way, to chart our own course and to be truly accountable to those who love with us.
We look forward to what our bright affirmed future brings.
Over the past few years, we've faced many challenges, just like everyone else. The COVID shutdowns, an increase of domestic terrorism, and the George Floyd protests were all major events that impacted us deeply. After these happenings and the Buffalo mass shooting on May 14, 2022, we knew we had to take a step back and reevaluate our priorities. We decided to focus on rest and intimacy, so we could recharge and come back stronger than ever before.
During this time, we exchanged being membership-based for volunteerism and collaborations, with a conscious decision to embrace our inner child. Out of this care came a rebrand, and events like:
- Juneteenth Pride-Picnics,
- Animate the Culture,
- Artbox, and
- The Cree Summer Chalk Walk
From this, D.O.P.E. Collective matured alongside many emerging collaboratives who are changing the landscape of Buffalo's arts scene, politics, and ambitions. We are proud of the journey we've been on and know it's just the beginning.
D.O.P.E. Collective began during a pivotal moment in history when new waves of racial, sexual, gender, and body autonomous movements were emerging. We saw the need for arts equity, preserving black life, and educational empowerment for all people.
Immersive Masculinity become our first workshop, encouraging responsibility in men and vindicating a masculine spectrum of all walks of life. These educational opportunities were grounded in a decolonial lens, along with zines and hosting an average of four cultural events monthly – including a reimagined annual World AIDS Day festival.
Our open-membership, partnerships and generation have integrated what was once kept ideologies in academia and critical thought on Tumblr into our institutions. Today it is an ever-evolving standard of how professionals approach health, education, and the arts.
We're proud our mission and efforts were a part of making institutions and their design culture a more critically vibrant place.
The founders of D.O.P.E. Collective were five artists and 20-somethings who all had a shared intersection within the LGBTQ community. Inspired by Donte Oxun and Monika Estrella Negra's Black and Brown Punk Fest (Chicago, IL), they had a vision for providing sanctuaries in Buffalo's nightlife for femmes, and abrasive sounds such as punk and rap.
Our collective was born out of a dedication to those with stigmatized identities like blackness, transness, queerness, and young age.
Built on a foundation of DIY culture and a commitment to our Eastside roots, our founders set out to create moments where everyone could come together and share in the music and fellowship. From that beginning, D.O.P.E. Collective was born.
A SPECIAL THANKS TO PAST MEMBERS, AND SUPPORTERS
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of our supporters, volunteers, past members, and health, organizing and cultural partners who have been with us throughout our almost ten years of operation. We couldn't have done this without you and we are forever grateful for your support and dedication.
Our Creative Directors have grown within D.O.P.E. alongside past members, Vondale Walker, Kenny Hollins; and co-founder, Khari Waits, whose contributions established what D.O.P.E. Collective is today!
You all have helped us grow in so many ways and we wouldn't be where we without your guidance and encouragement.
RAP ARTIST, PRODUCER
KHARI WAITS | CO-FOUNDER
MUSICIAN, RAPPER, PUNK AND HARDCORE ARTIST
GENDER AND SEXUALITY HEALTH ADVOCATE
FOUNDATIONAL PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS
Leaving Our Legacy, The MOCHA Center of Buffalo, Black Love Resists in the Rust FKA Just Resisting, Dreamland, Buffalo-Niagara Hostel, The Tool Library and CoLab, Sugar City, Alphonso Rafi Greene, Jr. Masten Resource Center, Frank E Merriweather Jr Library, Buffalo Arts Studio, AIDS Network of Western New York, GLYS Center, Jesse E. Nash Health Center and Erie County Department of Health, Buffalo's Hardcore Scene, Hoyt House, Glitter Box, Bird Haus, Anti-Venue, United Melanin Society, NASCO Co-Op (Ann Arbor, MI), Buffalo State Small Business Center, VENT, No Labels Clothing, Black Men Talking, Erie County Restorative Justice Center, Seneca Babcock Community Center, Buffalo City School District, BOX Gallery, Little Africa, Erie 1 BOCES, Overdue, The Foundry, and Toronto, ON Collectives: Blank Canvas, RUDE Collective, and Dead Poets.