Jasiri X
CEO and Co-Founder, 1Hood Media, Emcee

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 and political urgency and artistic vision he shared on songs like “Justice For Trayvon” and “Strange Fruit,” 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 organization he founded, 1Hood Media, whose mission is to build liberated communities through art, education, and social justice. 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 Institution to the Apollo Theater and has discussed his views on Hip-Hop, race, and politics at leading institutions across the nation, including Harvard University, University of Chicago, NYU, Yale, and Stanford. 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 2017 he received the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship to start the 1Hood Artivist Academy. Jasiri is also a recipient of the USA Cummings Fellowship in Music, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship, and the President's Volunteer Service Award.
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Cheryl Hall-Russell, EdD
President & Chief Cultural Consultant, BW3 (Black Women Wise Women, LLC)

Working diligently to change the world around her is literally in Cheryl Hall-Russell’s DNA. A third-generation non-profit leader, Cheryl comes from a line of women who identified a void in the community and became laser focused on filling it.

Having held the top position in organizations such as the YMCA and The Hill House, Cheryl brought her deep knowledge and expertise to each role, leaving a strong legacy and solid practices that would live on after she took on something new. After a successful and storied career in Corporate America, one thought kept nagging at Cheryl. Just as her mother, grandmother, and siblings had built fulfilling careers making a difference in the world by supporting the community, she knew that there was more for her to do in hers. In her 20+ years as a CEO, she had observed disturbing instances of racism against Black women in leadership. Having settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city known for its divisiveness, Cheryl realized that it was the ideal place to make an impact. As a natural born non-conformist, the racism she observed angered her and the fact that she was rearing a child in the city made it imperative that she disrupt the status quo. After completing her doctorate in Leadership and Administration in 2017, (dissertation – Resilience in the Face of Gender and Race Intersectionality: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of Black Female Executives) her research firm, Black Women, Wise Women (BW3) was born. BW3 specializes in working with organizations committed to inclusive practices and establishing organizational cultures that center on equity. She collaborates with companies that want to pride themselves on creating cultures and setting and achieving goals that position them as innovative and inclusive employers of choice. Her presentations and trainings are transformative and highly personal, highlighting her own family’s rich history, so that attendees may fully experience the path and power of Black people. In 2020, while working with multiple advocacy groups at the outset of the global pandemic, Cheryl found herself on a brainstorming call with members of 1Hood Media. In what was initially a casual conversation, a collaboration formed. The participants decided that they needed to work together to raise awareness about COVID-19 in Black Pittsburgh. What Black Pittsburgh Needs to Know podcast took off and brought cold, hard facts to its audience. It was also the perfect forum to expose Black Pittsburgh to the brilliance of nationally recognized Black and Brown experts. The podcast has grown from sharing facts about the Coronavirus to something much, much larger in scope and focus. Privileged to be its lead moderator, Cheryl seamlessly keeps the topics flowing. A sought-after speaker, moderator, and writer, Cheryl has a well-established brand that positions her as a highly effective facilitator on challenging topics. Cheryl has served as an adjunct professor of Qualitative Research Methods for the Ed.D program and Program Development & Evaluation in the M.A. program at Point Park University. In addition, she is a published writer and blogger. She is the Vice-Chair of the Planned Parenthood SWPA Board and the Vice-Chair of the Indiana University Distinguished Alumni Committee of the Paul O’Neil School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
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Farooq Al-Said
Director of Operations, 1Hood Media

While many say that activism is in their blood, it is an accurate declaration for Farooq Al-Said. Reared by a father who was a member of the Black Panther Party and a mother who received political asylum from Lebanon, Farooq’s journey was mapped out from day one.

While he grew up with Black liberation as an ever-present topic in his household, he would find himself imprisoned and oppressed on more than one occasion. After being incarcerated at age 17 and fighting for his freedom, Farooq focused on music, specifically Hip-Hop, as a conduit toward a more fulfilling, impactful life. After being discovered as a battle rapper, Farooq began to gain notoriety on the underground scene as a gifted emcee and songwriter. His talent led to him securing a major record label deal with Universal Music and Godsendant Music Group. Beyond his music career, Hip-Hop continued to be integral to his work fostering relationships with the youth in the community and opening doors that allowed Farooq to mentor, educate, and inspire as a teacher in charter and public school systems. Realizing the value of sharing the power of the arts, Farooq was part of an award-winning arts and education program, which has received statewide recognition. Having been close with Jasiri X (co-founder of 1Hood Media) since they were very young men, Farooq has had a front-row seat as 1Hood evolved. As the current director of operations, Farooq has purview over many aspects of the organization, from behind the scenes, managing everything from payroll to logistics, and front facing, serving as one of the organization’s main spokespersons. In addition, he manages curriculum development and fosters relationships with universities. Farooq has brought all of his lived experiences, good and bad, to the masses through speaking engagements, as well as emceeing. He continues to shine as a musical aficionado alongside Jasiri X during 1Hood’s resident podcast This Week In White Supremacy. Understanding that there is still much work to do, Farooq approaches each day and project with a personal challenge to strive for excellence. He thrives on bringing 1Hood’s mission of building liberated communities through art, education, and activism to the globe. As he works with 1Hood to increase awareness and bring truth to light, he values the growth and development that he experiences.
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Miracle J.
Director of Advocacy and Policy, 1Hood Power

Before she was old enough to attend elementary school, Miracle Jones learned many challenging and impactful life lessons.

The incarceration of her father when she was just a child changed the trajectory of her entire life. While the situation gave her a crash course in how systems impact one’s daily life, it also introduced her to community support and mutual aid organizing. At the time, she had no idea that she would find her life’s work rise out of her family’s struggle, leading her to become a community organizer and queer activist. Miracle has dedicated numerous years mobilizing against prison systems and violence. Her work focuses on implementing abolition-based principles and transformative justice through advocacy, art, policy, and writing. She has organized programs in Georgia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania to raise concerns about violence, discrimination, and gentrification. Miracle Jones serves as the Director of Advocacy and Policy at 1Hood Media Academy. In her role, she meets with stakeholders and impacted persons to engage around intersectional solutions to ensure communities are resourced and supported. She also ensures artists are a part of the conversations through the visioning process to show what liberated communities may look like. As the director of legislative affairs for 1Hood Power, she serves in the political arena as a criminal justice strategist and an advocate for equity at the intersections of gender, race, disability, and class. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Georgia State University and the Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA) MSW specialization at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Miracle is a licensed attorney in New York and received her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. To continue to expand on the work that she has done and to honor her father’s life, she aspires to run a holistic re-entry program that serves to reconnect individuals with families and communities, prioritizing those who have been away for at least five years. She feels that a great deal of emotional and communal loss happens when people are incarcerated, so she desires to create a public-private partnership program that begins to help them prepare for their return home while also providing support to their family members and friends. Miracle is looking forward to the time when she can travel the world like Anthony Bourdain and make connections with food, community, and culture.
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Julius Boatwright
Founder and CEO, Steel Smiling

When Julius Boatwright embarked on working in the mental health space, the loss of a dear friend by suicide fueled an even greater desire.

That wake-up call led to him founding Steel Smiling, an organization that bridges the gap between Black people and mental health support through education, advocacy, and awareness. As its Founder and Managing Director, Julius and his team have secured more than $600,000 for Black people to receive mental health treatment, training, and support. As a Licensed Social Worker, who obtained his Master of Social Work degree, with a Certificate in Human Services Management from the University of Pittsburgh, Julius worked as a community-based therapist, called in to assist people experiencing turmoil and tragedy. He started to feel the tug to get in front of such chaos and crises. Through Steel Smiling, he provides preventative care to help people thrive and, of utmost importance, to save lives. The organization's 10-year vision is to connect every Black person in Allegheny County to a positive mental health experience that improves their quality of life by 2030. Using his bachelor's degree in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh, Julius normalizes conversations about mental health in the Black community. He has interviewed national mental health advocates, including Charlemagne Tha God, Michelle Williams, Leon Ford, and James Shaw, Jr. Other certifications include certificates of completion from Harvard University through their "Becoming a Leader" professional development program and Duquesne University's Department of Psychology and Rita McGinley Clinic's Trauma-Informed Community Practice Workshop. Additionally, Julius completed the "Art of Leadership" professional development program with Leadership Pittsburgh and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. While Steel Smiling is still a young organization, its service efforts have been featured on national and local media platforms, such as Forbes, NBC, The Today Show, NPR, The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, The Washington Post, The Breakfast Club, The Seattle Times, CBS Pittsburgh, KDKA Newsradio 1020, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show, TEDxPittsburgh, PublicSource, PCTV, and Pittsburgh's CW. Julius has received recognitions, such as Mental Health America Social Work Award, Black Enterprise Modern Man of Distinction, Coro MLK, Jr. Distinguished Individual Leader [Nominee], NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania Dick Jevon Advocacy Award, NAACP [Pittsburgh Branch] Young Person of the Year, Allegheny County Council Proclamation, Pittsburgh City Council Proclamation, Pittsburgh Magazine/PUMP 40 Under 40, University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Hero, BMe Community Genius, Staunton Farm Foundation Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award, Pitt's School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni Rising Star, Multiplying Good One in a Million, and Neighborhood Allies Ally of the Year. Julius and his team have consulted with and trained the following partner clients: CCBHO, AHCI, Wesley Family Services, Familylinks, Robert Morris University, the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Urban Education, The Staunton Clinic, Mon Yough Community Services, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Coro Pittsburgh, PA Department of Labor & Industry, and the Department of Human Services. They are currently obtaining a 3-year Organization in Residence partnership with Neighborhood Allies. In addition, Julian is completing training and supervision hours to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Yoga Teacher. With a solid mission and vision for Steel Smiling, Julius intends to continue to accomplish the organization's goals and pursue and live an enlightened and authentic life.
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Khari Mosley
Director, 1Hood Power

Intrigued with Social Studies and Civics as a young man, it became pretty evident to Khari Mosley how much the past dictates the future.

After majoring in Political Science at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Khari secured an internship working on a presidential campaign and found the experience unique and fulfilling. He relished seeing the democratic process at work, live and in color, and it gave him the chance to work toward a common goal with a diverse group of people. Now, with more than two decades of experience working on non-partisan, issue advocacy, and political candidate campaigns in Pennsylvania and across the country, Khari is a trusted advisor with deep knowledge of the political process. Currently, he is the political director for 1Hood Media and the director of 1Hood Power, a 501(c)(4) organization. From 2012 to 2019, he served as regional programs manager for the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of fourteen of the country’s largest unions and environmental organizations. He also served as the director of Green Economy Initiatives for Grounded Strategies (formerly GTECH Strategies). From 2005 to 2009, Khari served as the national political director for the League of Young Voters and national policy director for the League of Young Voters Education Fund. Khari’s work was recognized with three nominations from the Campaign and Elections Magazine’s prestigious Reed Awards for excellence in political consulting. He has also received numerous awards for his civic engagement work from Pittsburgh Magazine, the League of Women Voters, A. Phillip Randolph Institute, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Penn Future, and the New Pittsburgh Courier. Local and national media outlets have featured Khari’s political analysis and perspective. He has appeared on the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel (PCNC), the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PNC), Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate KDKA-TV, PBS’s Newshour, NPR’s This American Life, The Roland Martin Show, KQV-Radio, KDKA Radio, WAMO-FM, WESA-FM and other media appearances. In addition to his love of politics, Khari has a deep affinity for music, event promotion, and sports. He passionately believes that community engagement and relationship building are inevitable through these areas. He aspires to one day bring them all together under one umbrella to inspire youth to pursue their dreams and grow into leaders for future generations. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Common Pleas Court Judge Chelsa Wagner, and their sons Thaddeus and Isaiah.
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Shyheim Banks
Teaching Artist, 1Hood Media, Emcee

Before he even hit double digits, Shyheim Banks, professionally known as Treble NLS, discovered the power and impact of music.

After falling in love with poetry and rap as a young boy, by middle school he was writing a copious amount, honing his craft as a poet and lyricist. He found that penning his thoughts and experiences was therapeutic and was the ideal way to express his feelings. Shyheim’s hard work paid off and by the time he reached high school, he became a member of the Krunk Movement. It was the first time that he would be compensated for his musical acumen and performances. Through Krunk, the music was meant to inspire, so he became adept at weaving messages into his poetry. This led to him becoming an Artivist – someone who seamlessly combines the worlds of art and activism. By fifteen, Shyheim was teaching other youth, guiding them in song writing and the ins and outs of music. Through this, he began to truly understand the importance of education and the positive effects of strong educators. He found his “Why” and it drives him to this very day. As the Head Teaching Artist at 1Hood Media, Shyheim imparts his wisdom in the areas of acting, audio engineering, emceeing, producing, and songwriting . He is able to not only continue to grow in his craft, but also bring relatability and wisdom to those he encounters. He shares his love of storytelling musically, through performances, and through poetry. In 2021, Shyheim received recognition from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy® Awards in the ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT-NEWS (SINGLE STORY) category. The winning entry, entitled “Don’t Clip Our Tails,’ A Pittsburgh Poet’s Reflection on Racial Justice,” was a collaborative effort with Ryan Loew, a Videographer/Editor at Public Source. Initially, Banks was asked to recite a poem at the first Pittsburgh protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd. At the time, Banks did not have a piece that he believed would truly capture the dark moment in history. So he did what he felt was needed; he sat down and wrote one. A conversation with his best friend’s mother inspired the poem when he advised, “don’t clip our tails.” The statement later became the title. Having found his life’s work, Shyheim relishes guiding others toward their power through artful expression. He intends to continue to lead them to their “Why” and to help them process what is happening along their journey. Understanding the importance of liberation and freedom, Shyheim endeavors to have the resources to implement immediate change based off of his creativity.
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Muhammad Ali Nasir
Civic Engagement Coordinator

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