Meet the Squad
founder and creative director
Jasiri X is the first independent hip-hop artist to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate, which he received from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2016. This recognition grew out of the spiritual/political urgency and artistic vision he shared on songs like “Justice For Trayvon” and “Strange Fruit (Class of 2013),” which documented the unjust police killings of young Blacks in the Millennial Generation. Likewise, he has been deeply involved with the national Movement for Black Lives, working with organizations like The Gathering for Justice, Blackout for Human Rights, Justice or Else, BYP100 and Sankofa. Still, he remains rooted in the Pittsburgh based organizations he co-founded, the anti-violence group 1Hood as well as the 1Hood Media Academy, which teaches youth of color how to analyze and create media for themselves. Jasiri emerged on the national scene in 2007 with the powerful hit song “Free The Jena 6” and the groundbreaking Internet video series This Week With Jasiri X, a program that reached millions of Internet views. More recently, his critically acclaimed album Black Liberation Theology (2015) has been recognized as a soundtrack for today’s civil rights movement. He has performed his music from the Smithsonian to the Apollo Theater and has discussed his views on hip-hop, race and politics at leading institutions across the nation, including Harvard University, the University of Chicago, NYU, Stanford, among others. Beyond his work nationally, Jasiri’s focus on social change has also touched the global arena. In 2016, he was commissioned by The Open Society Foundation to travel to Columbia to create a film (War on Us with Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Rhymefest) that highlights the international effects of US drug policy in South America. One of the most important political voices of his generation, in 2015 he received the USA Cummings Fellowship in Music, a BMe Fellowship and a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship.
Celeste c. smith
Celeste C. Smith is the President/CEO for 1Hood Media, a collective of conscious Hip Hop artists and activists who utilize Hip Hop as a means of raising awareness around issues effecting oppressed people around the world. She is an Association of Performing Arts Presenter fellow and recently served as an Artist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute - Chicago. Additionally, she was named a Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Awards nominee for her multi-disciplined artistry, is a published author, a Walker’s Legacy Power 50 honoree, 2017 3rd Best Activist in Pittsburgh PA and a 2018 SXSW Community Service Awards Honoree. Celeste is the business partner and manager of artist/activist Jasiri X and oversees his day-to-day business affairs; while counseling Jasiri X on professional matters, long-term plans and personal decisions as necessary.
Celeste is a founding member of the Nefertiti Alliance, an organization dedicated to raising awareness around the importance of self care and protecting the cultural capital of Black women in the arts, and serves as the organizations chair. A member of the Heinz Endowments Transformative Arts Process Advisory Board, the Pittsburgh Symphony Community Advisory Council, and an independent arts and community engagement consultant; Celeste lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their three children.
DIRECTOR OF PR & CREATIVE ENRICHMENT
Pittsburgh born publicist and events consultant, Tye Clarke, is a creative powerhouse with the belief that the artistry of storytelling can change lives. After attending world renowned Parsons School for Design and graduating from Kent State University, she packed her bags and moved to Brooklyn, New York.
While living in NYC, she managed social media, PR, events and communications for companies including the American Cancer Society, Kaufmann Mercantile and BCBGMAXAZRIA. In 2016, she launched her own PR and events consultancy.
An avid lover of culture, philanthropy and art, she believes that happiness in where the three intersect. With her desire to live beyond the scope of monotony, Tye understands that life begins at the end of your comfort zone and believes that mantra holds true no matter the circumstance.
As 1Hood's Director of PR and Creative Enrichment, Tye is responsible for artist management, branding, event planning, digital content and strategic communication.
DIRECTOR OF CULTURAL ENRICHMENT AND EFFICACY
Taliya Allen is an educator, youth organizer and activist from Brooklyn, NY. After teaching sixth grade in Hawaii, she relocated to Pittsburgh to continue her work with youth in distressed communities. Leveraging her experience in education and her passion for social justice, Taliya's work as an administrator is to provide the structure and strategic design components often missing in social justice work.
Taliya also writes creatively and hopes to further her impact in social justice through the written word. She believes that where passion, creativity and strategy meet, amazing things can happen.