Now rooted in Oakland, CA, Keba Armand Konte was born and raised in San Francisco. He is an artist, food entrepreneur and man of the community. His artwork has been published widely and exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. He is the co-founder of Guerilla Cafe, the founder of Chasing Lions Cafe and the Founder/Roaster for Red Bay Coffee – an investee of LIFT Economy’s Force For Good Fund. In his spare time he enjoys aquaponic gardening, judo and making vegan waffles for his family.
Some highlights from Ryan’s interview with Keba include:
Keba illustrates his colorful journey from the heyday of Haight-Ashbury in SF to his first career choice as a photographer – notable works from the 90’s independent hip hop scene: Boots Riley & The Coup, E-40, Master P, Too Short, 2-Pac, etc, with spreads in magazines like Rolling Stone, The Source, etc – transitioning in the early 2000’s to a career as a critically-acclaimed visual artist with unique documentary-style pieces & installation, conceptual, and interactive art (see Resources below to see Keba’s photography & art) which ultimately led Keba to co-found Guerilla Cafe as a hub for culture, art, and coffee vibes.
Keba shares how he’s always been very intentional about the political implications of where he spent his money, a values-driven skillset that transferred to business decisions which enabled him to support black/POC entrepreneurs & provide livelihoods to youth
Keba’s coffee enterprising began with Guerilla Cafe – which held the first wholesale coffee shop account for Blue Bottle Coffee. Building from that success, Keba founded Chasing Lions Cafe and by structuring it to work so he would not work in the business so that he could work on the the business, he carved out the space he needed to cultivate the craft of roasting in his “Coffee Dojo,” finally launching Red Bay Coffee in 2014
How the often normalized systemic racism of Starbucks culture recently captured on video has brought attention to the merit, meaning, and unique value proposition of the Red Bay Coffee model, resulting in a rapid increase in demand for Red Bay Coffee shops nationwide at a time when Red Bay is already ramping up for expansion (stay tuned for new locations in LA & Philly)
Keba Konte Discography Photographer Profile (62 Albums, 1993-2014)
LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.
Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate. You can email Andrew at email@example.com.
Ryan Honeyman is a Partner at LIFT Economy and author of The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers). You can follow Ryan on Twitter @honeymanconsult or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.