|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (June 2011)|
November 3, 1973 |
Blue Island, Illinois, U.S.
Christian Picciolini (born November 3, 1973) is a Chicago-based author, peace advocate, entrepreneur, Emmy-nominated television producer and director, music executive, musician, and visual artist.
After attending DePaul University, Picciolini spent time writing his personal memoirs, Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, about his experience as a youth involved in the early American white power skinhead scene. His writings and editorial pieces have appeared in magazines like Alternative Press and news outlets like Huffington Post and Al Jazeera. Picciolini's writings are known for their use of natural language and poignant dialogue. He was formerly the Community Partnerships Manager at Threadless, an online global community of artists and an e-commerce platform based in Chicago, Illinois. In 2008, Threadless was featured on the cover of Inc. as “The Most Innovative Small Company in America.”
From December 2009 until March 2012, Picciolini was Executive Producer and General Manager of JBTV, a nationally broadcast, Emmy Award and Billboard Music Award-winning music television program and entertainment media network based in Chicago. He is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of the peace advocacy and counter-extremism consulting group Life After Hate. In 2011, Picciolini was twice nominated by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for a Midwest Regional Emmy Award for his role as Executive Producer of JBTV. He was also nominated in 2010 for a Midwest Regional Emmy Award for Directing, became a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy Rock Committee, and sits on the board of directors for the City of Chicago's Chicago Music Summit, Chicago International Film and Music Festival (CIMMfest), and VOXi, a community-based online "bucket list" website. For a time, Picciolini was an Adjunct Professor teaching branding and entrepreneurship at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy.
Life and Career
Picciolini was born and raised in Blue Island, Illinois, the son of Italian immigrants. His father was a hair salon owner and his mother is a restaurant owner. After several years at IBM Corporation as a Senior Marketing Operations Specialist, he left and formed his own record label and fashion company, Sinister Muse, and brand development and entertainment company Goldmill Group. In the 1990s, he also founded the Chicago punk rock band Random55. Picciolini previously managed Flatfoot 56, a Celtic punk band from Chicago, and Los Angeles punk band The Briggs, known for their anthem "This is L.A."
Picciolini has also managed, co-managed, or released albums for such musical acts as The Frantic, Street Dogs, Treaty of Paris (band), Joey Briggs, Blacklist Royals, State and Madison, Urbanites, The Noise FM, Random55, Dead Town Revival, The Spent .50s, Graham Isaacson, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, and The Tattle Tales.
In 1991, Picciolini started his first musical group White American Youth, or W.A.Y., and released a record entitled "Walk Alone" (RRR123) on influential and controversial record label Rock-O-Rama Records from Germany. The group disbanded in 1992 and Picciolini went on to form the band Final Solution who, along with fellow pioneering American hate rock band Bound for Glory, were the first American white power bands to play a concert in Europe or abroad, setting a historical precedent that gained exponentially as the years went on. The concert in Weimar, Germany had over 4,000 attendees from all over Europe. The concert also included the German bands Störkraft and Radikahl.
Picciolini denounced his belief in the white power racist movement in 1995 and in 2010 co-founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Life After Hate and penned a memoir, released in 2015, about his experiences in the extremist far-right movement, Romantic Violence: Memoirs Of An American Skinhead. In 2013, Picciolini contributed to Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt and Google Ideas Director, Jared Cohen's New York Times Bestselling book, The New Digital Age.
Currently, Picciolini is CEO of Goldmill Group, a brand innovation and entertainment media company, and the board chairman for Life After Hate.
- Romantic Violence: Memoirs Of An American Skinhead (2015)
Television Producing, Acting and Directing Credits
Picciolini's producing and directing credits include over 80 episodes of JBTV and JBTV Static Age, as well as the Smashing Pumpkins "Gish" and "Siamese Dreams" re-issue DVDs, and The Frantic's "Audio & Murder" music video. Directing credits include several JBTV episodes and segments, the Smashing Pumpkins "Gish" and "Siamese Dreams" re-issue DVDs (2011), and the "Courage" music video by Flatfoot 56, for which he was nominated for a Regional Emmy Award. New television shows currently in pre-production by Picciolini and Goldmill Group are "The Tastemakers," "Step Off," and "Finding Clark." Film projects in pre-production include "Tryst of Fate," "Parlor Kings," and "The Spear." In addition to producing and directing, Picciolini has appeared in the Park Forest Theatre live stage adaptation of "Man And Superman" and as a background actor in the film "Light It Up" with Usher (entertainer) and Forest Whitaker.
Awards and Honors
In 2011, Picciolini was twice nominated by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Midwest Regional Emmy Awards for his role as Executive Producer of JBTV.
In 2010, he was nominated for a Midwest Regional Emmy Award as Co-Director of the "Courage" music video by Flatfoot 56 and became a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy Rock Committee.
While Executive Producer and General Manager of JBTV in 2010 and 2011, the music program was nominated for four Emmy Awards and won one Emmy Award for motion graphics/animation production. In 2010, JBTV was also nominated and won a Chicago Music Award for "Best Music Video Program" during his tenure.
In June 2011, Picciolini was a panel speaker at the inaugural Google Ideas, Tribeca Film Festival, and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Summit Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) in Dublin, Ireland, convening former members of violent organizations from inner-city gangs to violent terrorist organizations, including right-wing militants and religious extremist groups, who are now actively and publicly working for groups that fight extremism and are recognized by local governments and law enforcement.