Paradise Gray was raised in The South Bronx during the days of Reaganomics, the trickle down theory was in full effect. With live entertainment being financially inaccessible, the young people began to create their own forms of entertainment.
This raw, new music scene crafted in the inner cities of New York is now affectionately known as “Hip-hop”. The voice of the ghetto that has grown to become a Multi-Billion Dollar industry that has in recent years out-sold all other forms of music in America.
Paradise was a young street D.J. mentored by some of Hip-hop’s Legendary founding DJ’s: Disco King Mario (R.I.P.), Pete DJ Jones, The Grand Imperial J.C., and D.J. C.C. Howard. Paradise earned street credibility as a D.J., Rapper and Break-dancer. Paradise jokes: “I never liked getting paint on my hands and clothes, so I was a horrible Graffiti artist”.
Paradise is also a writer and photographer with articles and photographs appearing in The Source Magazine, XXL, Right On! Magazine, YO!, Wax Poetics, Big Red News, VH1′s 30 Years Of Hip-hop History TV Special, “It’s Like That” (Run-DMC’s Autobiography) by Bill Adler and many early Hip-hop magazines including The Hip-hop Hit-list and Rap Masters.
An archivist and Hip-hop Historian with a great Hip-hop memorabilia collection: (The Paradise Collection), Paradise has been a photographer, writer, producer, promoter, artist, activist, and manager of entertainment for The Legendary Hip-hop Club “The Latin Quarters”.
The Latin Quarters was the incubator of “The Golden Era” Of Hip-hop where Over 80% of the legendary artists honed their skills and made their connections. Some of those artists include: Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS 1, Public Enemy, Nice & Smooth, Salt & Pepa, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Chris Rock, Slick Rick, Heavy D & The Boys, EPMD, LL Cool J, X-Clan and many others..
In 1987-88 Paradise and Lumumba Carson formed The BlackWatch Movement that spawned the groups: The X-Clan, ISIS, Queen Mother Rage, Unique & Dashan and Professor X himself as an artist. The BlackWatch Movement was critical to the grassroots consciousness of New York City’s youth and was instrumental in changing the face of Hip-hop to one of Black Pride in the late 80′s to early 90′s. Both of The X-Clan’s albums: “To The East Blackwards” and “XODUS” are considered Classics and are a must listen to for anyone into Black Conscious music. Dubbed “The Grand Arkitech Traxtitioner Paradise” Mr. Gray was a member of the groups production team that included Jason Hunter (The Grand Verbalizer Funkin-Lesson Brother J), Anthony Hardin (The Rhythm Provider Sugar Shaft), And Lumumba Carson (Professor X The Overseer). The X-Clan were nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
From 1999-2003 Paradise Gray was the executive director of urban music at the infamous Internet music company MP3.COM, the company that invented the Online Music Revolution and was last big IPO in the Dot.com boom era.
TALIYA R. ALLEN
Taliya Allen is an educator, youth organizer and activist from Brooklyn, NY. Taliya Attended the illustrious Clark Atlanta University where she majored in Political Science and minored in English on the Pre-Law track, pursuing her lifelong dream of being an international human rights lawyer. However, with the state sanctioned murder of Troy Anthony Davis in 2011, Taliya began to lose faith in the justice system as a means to create change, and shifted her focus to education, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Clark Atlanta and being accepted into the 2013 Teach for America Hawaii corps.
After teaching sixth grade on the Big Island of Hawaii, she eventually relocated to Pittsburgh, PA to continue her work with youth in communities of color. Having received her MS in Education from Johns Hopkins University, she began leveraging her experience in education and her passion for social justice and human rights to begin work as an administrator. Taliya's role as 1Hood Media's Director of Arts Education and Cultural Enrichment is to provide curriculum development and cultural focuses and administrative support to the organization.
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. She lives by the mantra “It is not the meek that shall inherit the Earth, but the creative.”
Farooq Ameen Al-Said, formally known as Ayatollah Jaxx under Universal Music and Godsendant Music Group, was born in Toronto, Canada. A singer and rapper who most appreciates the stylings of Nas and Prince, music has inspired his life from early childhood. In his youth, Al-Said had multiple run-ins with the law leading to his incarceration at the age of 18. Upon his release, martial arts and hip-hop music completely altered his direction in life. After being discovered as a battle rapper, Farooq began to make noise in the underground as a capable MC and songwriter which lead to a major label deal.
Beyond his music career, hip-hop continued to be integral to his work fostering relationships with his students and opening doors that allowed Farooq to mentor, educate and build with youth in the charter and public school systems as a teacher. He continues to flex his muscles as musical aficionado alongside Jasiri X during 1Hood’s resident podcast URONG: Unpopular Rap Opinion, Now Go!
The son of a Black Panther, black liberation, education and community are central to his core values. This in conjunction with his first-hand experience of the prison industrial complex in his youth, Farooq’s unique perspective has informed his passion for social and restorative justice. During his time at 1Hood, the self proclaimed full-time super villain intends to harness his life experiences to help unite our community by instilling the importance of self-education and reliance.
My name is Kahlil G. Darden. I am the son of Jentil John. I was born on March 11th of 2001. In 2016, I created an organization to reach out to young African American men in the city of Pittsburgh that believed in being active in their communities. About two months ago, we created a branch for female activist and we stand strong and united under the name of Young Black Motivated Kings and Queens. Briefly, before I began my organization my uncle was murdered at gunpoint in 2013 which gave me the courage and wisdom to do something great not to only make him proud but change the world around me. Just recently, we were taken under the wing of 1Hood Media. Through 1Hood we work together to express love and motivation throughout the city of Pittsburgh with our community service, talents, and so much more. I also started the first Black Student Union at Penn Hills Senior High School in the 2016-2017 school year and wish to do more with that this upcoming school year. I desire to continue my work within the community and to eventually become an Author in the next few years. All things are possible with the scripture Philippians 4:13 at hand.
" I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
Tamia has been extremely active in her community and schools all of her life. When she was 16, she was given the opportunity to join 1Hood Media through an internship. This is an organization that brought her out of her comfort zone and contributed to creating her into the very talented, courageous, and well-rounded woman that she is today. She is still a part of this group today and hopes that she will be for years to come. 1Hood Media is where she gained interest in working with non profit organizations and activism. So, she decided to take that interest and The Young Black Motivated Kings and Queens is a local, collaborative one-on-one community organization, serving children, youth, and adults. In this group, she serves as the Co-Founder. This immaculate group of youth have been showcasing different events in their community for two years now and they have also been giving back in any way that they can.
She graduated from Obama Academy of International Studies in June of 2017 and continued on academically at the first degree granting historically black university in the nation, Lincoln University. Here she is majoring Mass Communications with a focus in Journalism. With her degree in Mass Communications, she wishes to become a social media influencer working for black owned platforms and eventually creating her own. She also has a dream to become an author. At her institution she is apart of her institutions National Association for Black Journalist, Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, the Lincolnian online newspaper, she is the secretary of a female mentoring group for the upcoming year and she was also given the opportunity to become a resident advisor for next three years on campus. She desires to continue her work in her community and on her campus.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. You never lose anything.”