Great Grinds Drink Alike: Traci Bartlow - Red Bay Coffee

Great Grinds Drink Alike: Traci Bartlow

Red Bay Coffee is inspired by the many talented people we are surrounded by in Oakland. Our Great Grinds Campaign proudly features people we admire for their commitment and grind to their craft. 

A native of Oakland, CA Traci Bartlow is an artist and entrepreneur with a longstanding career as an activist, business owner, photographer, dance educator, lecturer, curator, and cultural archivist. 

Traci Bartlow, a dancer who is proficient in many styles, has a passion for documenting and preserving black dance and culture. She has been a principal dancer and soloist for dance companies and international theater and television productions. Growing up in Oakland, California she learned early Hip Hop dance styles from some of the originators in Hip Hop culture.  She also has studied and performed traditional African dance with Ceedo West African Dancers & Drummers, Linda Johnson, and Malonga Casquelourd.  As a teenager, she won a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City where she enhanced her career as a professional dancer. By day she studied with world-renowned teachers at the Ailey school, and by night she kept her Hip Hop foundation evolving by dancing in legendary Hip Hop and House music dance clubs in New York City such as The Tunnel, Kilimanjaro, and the Shelter.

As a photojournalist, Ms. Bartlow has documented and archived of thousands of images she shot in the Bay Area during the 1990s as Bay Area artist were making their indelible mark on the culture nationally and internationally.  Her photos were featured in The Source, Vibe, Rap Pages, 4080, and Black Enterprise magazines during this era. A portion of Ms. Bartlow’s photography archive is being presented at the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, TN,  The exhibition is part of their year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Hip hop.  Her images will be on view from April through the end of June 2023. 

Currently, Ms. Barltow is the owner of B-Love’s Guest House in West Oakland.  It is a boutique hotel with an art gallery and an exquisite urban garden.  In the summer of 2023, B-Love’s Guest House will feature Oakland Picture Lady: Tales of a 90’s Girl, a collection of Ms. Bartlow’s photographs, collages, and short stories of her fascinating life experiences as a hip-hop photojournalist from 1992 -1999. 

No doubt Traci is someone to look out for in the future. If you want to know more about Traci Bartlow and B-Love’s Guest House follow her on Instagram @blovesguesthouse and @tracibartlow.