Things We Love: Picks from Apollo Akembe

Apollo Akembe

Apollo Akembe, 23, is a transgender, non-binary musician, writer, poet and activist hailing from Milo-Grogan. They've been writing music since the age of 15, with a sound that slips through hip-hop, folk, punk and other genres. They are responsible for founding the Melanincholy Music Festival, a celebration of artists of color centering on queer performers. Their music and activism deals heavily in the philosophy of relating and seeking community and its goal they often accomplish with the help of others doing the same. They will be featured at the Columbus Queer Open Mic at Wild Goose Creative on Thursday, March 16. Here are some of their favorite things.


BLKGLD are really trill musicians. They're a part of D.A.N.K. (Dope.Ass.Negro.Kids), a local black art collective that's doing really cool things around the city. They recently released a self-titled EP and feature some of my poetry. These dudes are chill, down to earth and their music feeds the soul.

Milo-Grogan Butterfly Garden

This is a beautiful, community-run garden space in the Milo-Grogan area. It's run by Jamie Abbot, a really dedicated community leader. They host music events in the summer. It's a really fun time chilling in the sun in the heart of the neighborhood.


Black Queer Intersectional Columbus is a group of black, queer organizers in the city lead by Ariana Steele and Dkeama Alexis, two amazing black, queer activists. They are currently working on a zine centered on black narratives in Columbus. I'm super excited about it.


Ruby Yacht is a tape label and maker's guild based in Milwaukee, Wisc. It was founded by rapper Milo (Rory Ferreira), with poet Alexander Lloyd Kollman and producer Brandeaux Calrissian. The single most influential group of artists that inspire me to do what I do.

Magic the Gathering

I'm a social activist and hip-hop aficionado, but there is nothing I love more than sitting down with a group of friends to play MTG. I'm a huge nerd when I have time.