Jahlil Nzinga




Born Keith Jahlil Jenkins and was raised in South Berkeley. Often when one thinks of Berkeley, the mind is filled with thoughts of fun loving co-ed’s, hippies, and hemp based products. This Berkeley, however, is not the one from which Jahlil hails. His mother, Ayodele Nzinga MFA, is a world renowned writer, poet, and thespian. As the founder of Northern California’s first all black theater company, It was through her influence that Jahlil found his first medium, acting. By the time he was a teen, he had already starred in many roles and began to develop an interest in music. Together with 3 of his friends, Jahlil formed The Pack. The Pack was a ground breaking musical group at the time, combining unique electronic laced beats with lyrics pertaining to youth and skate culture that was way ahead of the curve. Jahlil became a chart topping artist, was signed to Jive records, and was afforded the opportunity to see the world. Through all of these new places, faces, and experiences, Jahlil’s perspective and thought processes began to evolve. His art began to feel constrained when confined to the world of Hip Hop. Lost and filled with untapped expression, the influence of a friend led to him picking up a paint brush. Jahlil draws inspiration through his connections with the physical world. He has a glass half full approach to art and knowledge that have allowed him to expand his repertoire of disciplines and styles very quickly. From his first solo exhibition, “Hunnit Dollas,” in late 2015 to his 2nd major Exhibition, “Same Shit different day,” the growth has been monumental. His most recent exhibition, “Missed Calls,” presented at Glue Studios has really cemented him as a player on the scene who demands attention. His pieces now have global reach as they have been procured and displayed by many tastemakers and celebrities. Jahlil’s work will inspire you, it will stir you, in some cases it will consume you. You can feel his spirit and his emotion on the canvas and his talent is evident in his upward trajectory through the art world. He is like a shooting star, so don’t blink or you may miss him.