Meet the Squad

Photo by Leah Johns

Photo by Leah Johns

Jasiri X                         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.

Photo by Leah Johns

Photo by Leah Johns

Celeste c. smith                   CEO

Celeste C. Smith is the chief executive officer 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 and a Walker’s Legacy Power 50 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.

Photo by Leah Johns

Photo by Leah Johns

idasa tariq                     Assistant creative director

Idasa Tariq is a Hip Hop music artist and producer hailing from Pittsburgh, PA by way of Binghamton, NY. Since 14, Tariq has been recording and producing his own music as well as for others (Jasiri X “Just A Minstrel”, “The Babies” | Dominique Larue ‘HerStory’ EP | Real Deal “Never Stop The Fire” | Blak Rapp Madusa “Steel Waters Run Deep” EP), and made his first album debut with ‘Pissed Off Soul Man’ in 2011. Influenced by artists and producers such as Blackstar, Kanye West, Black Milk & Little Brother, Tariq continues to create soul music that is influenced by the music of yesterday, inspired by the reality of today.

After relocating back to Pittsburgh in July of 2013, Tariq went on to further his career in art and music by becoming a music teaching artist, and now as the Assistant Creative Director at 1Hood Media Academy. Through the 1Hood Media Academy, Tariq saw how he could make a bigger impact through Hip Hop and education by working alongside and furthering the ideas of youth arts in Pittsburgh, following the guidance of his elder peers and instructors Jasiri X and Paradise Gray of X CLAN. Tariq is currently working on his 5th album, “Pieces of A Soul”, set to be released later this year.