Christian Picciolini

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Christian Picciolini
Christian Marco Picciolini

(1973-11-03) November 3, 1973 (age 45)
EducationBA in International business and International relations
Alma materDePaul University
AwardsEmmy Award (regional)

Christian Marco Picciolini[1] (born November 3, 1973) is an American musician and author who is the co-founder of a nonprofit peace advocacy organization called Life After Hate. He wrote a memoir, Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, which details his time as a leader of the American white power movement. An updated version of the story was published as a paperback in 2017, titled White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement--and How I Got Out.

Early life[edit]

Picciolini was born and raised in Blue Island, Illinois, the son of Italian immigrants.[2][3] His father was a hair salon owner and his mother is a restaurant owner.[4] At age 14 in 1987, Picciolini was recruited to join the Chicago Area Skinheads (CASH) by the group's founder, Clark Martell.[4][5] Two years later, after Martell had gone to prison for a second time, Picciolini became the group's leader at age 16. He facilitated a merger between CASH and the Hammerskins, a more violent and well-organized White supremacist skinhead organization.[4]

He would go on to head the white supremacist punk band, White American Youth (W.A.Y.) and, eventually, a hate rock band called Final Solution. Final Solution was the first American white power skinhead group to perform in Europe. The concert was held in a former cathedral in Weimar, Germany, attended by 4,000 people, and was made up of several other white supremacist bands.[6][4] In 1994, Picciolini opened a record store called Chaos Records where he often sold white power music.[6] He officially renounced ties to the American neo-Nazi movement in 1996 at the age of 22.[7]

Picciolini attended DePaul University later in life earning a degree in international business and international relations.[8]


Picciolini founded another, non-racist punk rock band called Random55 after leaving the white power movement. The band toured with Joan Jett in the mid 1990s. In 1999, Picciolini began working for IBM.[8] He eventually left IBM to start his own record label, Sinister Muse. Sinister Muse is part of the broader entertainment firm, Goldmill Group.[9][10] Picciolini managed Flatfoot 56, a Celtic punk band from Chicago and The Briggs, a Los Angeles punk band.[9]

After graduating from DePaul University, Picciolini spent time writing his personal memoirs about his experience as a youth involved in the early American white power skinhead scene.[3] In 2010, he co-founded Life After Hate, a peace advocacy and counter-extremism consulting group, with former neo-Nazi, Arno Michaelis.[4] That same year, he took over as the executive producer and general manager of JBTV, a music-themed television program and entertainment media network based in Chicago. Picciolini is responsible for changing the show's basic format, securing a national distribution deal with NBC, and earning the show multiple Regional Emmy Award nominations. He would stay at the show until 2012.[3][11]

In 2011, Picciolini spoke at the Summit Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) in Dublin, Ireland which was presented by Google Ideas and the Tribeca Film Festival.[6] Also in 2011, Picciolini served as the executive producer and film director for the Smashing Pumpkins' DVD re-issues of Gish and Siamese Dream.[12][13][14] He also served as the producer for The Frantic's music video for "Blackout Brigade"[15] and, later, as the producer for Dead Town Revival's music video for "Johnny."[16] Picciolini had previously served as producer for The Frantic's music video for "Audio & Murder"[17] and for Dead Town Revival's music video for "The Rain."[18]

Picciolini released Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead in April 2015.[4] Over the course of his career, Picciolini has contributed to a variety of nationally broadcast programs as a subject matter expert, commenting on issues related to far-right, white supremacist extremism. He appeared on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and on Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN where he discussed the Charleston church shooting.[19][7] He has also recently appeared on Chicago Tonight on WTTW, The Afternoon Shift on WBEZ, NewsMax TV's MidPoint with Ed Berliner, Al Jazeera, WGN Radio, and The Adam Carolla Show.[5][10][20][21][22][23] He has also been profiled in online publications like Vice and The Blaze.[6][2][24]

Picciolini left the Life After Hate organization in August 2017, intending to explore international groups that encourage violent extremists to leave their lives of hatred and find better lives.[25] An updated version of his life story was published December 26, 2017, titled White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement--and How I Got Out. Hachette Books has made it available as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

Awards and recognition[edit]

In his role as executive producer of JBTV, Picciolini helped the show earn 5 Regional Emmy Award nominations (three in 2010 and two in 2011).[11] The show won an Emmy award in 2010 for their motion graphics.[26]

In 2016, Picciolini won a Regional Emmy Award for his role as executive producer and director of ExitUSA's "There is life after hate" anti-hate campaign.[27]


  1. ^ "Voters Record: Christian Picciolini".
  2. ^ a b Ritz, Erica (20 January 2015). "Former Neo-Nazi Leader Shares the Chilling Way He Was Seduced by Hate at Age 14 — And What Made Him Leave It All Behind". TheBlaze. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Bensing, Kayla (1 July 2010). "Out of his skin". The Chicago Reporter. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Terry, Don (April 2015). "Redemption Song". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b Segall, Mandy (1 July 2011). "Former skinhead: 'My hate had no basis'". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d Ludwig, Jamie (17 November 2014). "From White American Youth to Life After Hate: Former Racist Skinhead Vocalist Pens Memoir About His Road to Peace". Vice. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  7. ^ a b Reynolds, Dean (23 June 2015). "Former skinhead explains how he was radicalized". CBS News. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b Mohr, Michael (27 February 2015). ""ROMANTIC VIOLENCE: MEMOIRS OF AN AMERICAN SKINHEAD" BY CHRISTIAN PICCIOLINI". Michael Mohr. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  9. ^ a b Shrum, Tony (27 March 2015). "Interview: Christian Picciolini Talks About His Part In The White Power Movement & His Memoir Moving Past It". New Noise Magazine. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b "American Skinhead to Peace Advocate Announcing Christian Picciolini for Glappitnova". Glappitnova. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b "JBTV Is Bad, Nationwide". The Beachwood Reporter. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Christian Picciolini". Who Produced It. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream". Film & Video Labelling Body. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Christian Picciolini". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  15. ^ THE FRANTIC - "Blackout Brigade" music video (OFFICIAL). YouTube. 18 October 2011.
  16. ^ DEAD TOWN REVIVAL - "Johnny" music video (OFFICIAL). YouTube. 31 July 2014.
  17. ^ THE FRANTIC - "Audio & Murder" music video (OFFICIAL). YouTube. 1 October 2007.
  18. ^ DEAD TOWN REVIVAL - "Rain" music video. YouTube. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  19. ^ "ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES". CNN. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  20. ^ Shefsky, Jay; Qiu, Linda (6 May 2015). "Life After Hate". Chicago Tonight. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Afternoon Shift: Former skinhead Christian Picciolini discusses his time in the white power movement". WBEZ. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  22. ^ Wakenight, Bennett (8 June 2015). "Christian Picciolini Talks Romantic Violence". WGN Radio. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  23. ^ Laxamana, Chris (3 May 2015). "Dr. Drew and Christian Picciolini". The Adam Carolla Show. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  24. ^ Davies, Luke (13 January 2018). "These Former Skinheads Are Fighting Racism". Vice. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  25. ^ "Former Neo Nazi Explains Why Hate Drew Him In And How He Got Out". National Public Radio. 14 January 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  26. ^ "JBTV wins an Emmy… and celebrates". Redwall Photography. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  27. ^ "Christian Picciolini Wins 2016 Emmy for ExitUSA Spot" (PDF). Chicago Midwest Regional Emmy Awards. 3 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.

External links[edit]