Jasiri X

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jasiri X
Jasiri Oronde Smith

OccupationRapper, activist
Notable work
"Free the Jena 6"; "What if the Tea Party was Black?"
AwardsHonorary doctorate, Chicago Theological Seminary (2016), Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Award (2015), USA Fellow (2015)

Jasiri X (born Jasiri Oronde Smith) is a Pittsburgh-based rapper and activist[1] who gained attention for his 2007 song "Free the Jena 6."[2] He is a recipient of the Rauschenberg Artist as Activist award[3] and founder of anti-violence group 1Hood.[4][5] In 2016, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Chicago Theological Seminary.[6]

Early life[edit]

Jasiri X was born Jasiri Oronde Smith[7] in Chicago, Illinois. In the 1980s he moved with his mother to Monroeville, Pennsylvania and attended Gateway High School, graduating at age 16. Intending to become a lawyer, he began college at the University of Maryland, then attended the University of Pittsburgh but did not finish college.[2]


After leaving school, Jasiri began spoken word,[2] performing initially as Jo Smith.[8] He also became an activist and was introduced to the Nation of Islam, taken by an acquaintance to a mosque in 1997.[8] Jasiri met Louis Farrakhan a year later when Farrakhan was in Pittsburgh to support a boycott, and Jasiri subsequently registered as a member the Nation of Islam. In 2005, he became the minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 22 in Wilkinsburg.[8]

Jasiri X has created music addressing social and political issues, including his 2007 song "Free the Jena 6",[2] "Trayvon" following George Zimmerman's shooting of Trayvon Martin in February 2012,[9] "Do We Need to Start a Riot?"[10] and "What if the Tea Party was Black?"[11][12] He encouraged other hip-hop artists to engage these concerns as well.[13][14]

In 2010 he released his first album, American History X.[2] In 2013, he released a second album, called Ascension, with Vancouver label Wandering Worx.[15] In 2015, he released Black Liberation Theology, with features from David Banner and Tef Poe among others.[16] He has mentioned Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Lauryn Hill, Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G., Public Enemy, and KRS-One as among his musical influences.[17]

Jasiri X also has a YouTube-based show "This Week with Jasiri X"[18] and has been an advocate for net neutrality[19] particularly as it relates to protecting access for low-income people of color.[4]

In 2006, he cofounded the anti-violence group 1Hood,[20] which includes a media academy teaching young black boys to analyze media as well as create their own.[5]

Awards and grants[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alcindor, Yamiche (July 13, 2014). "Activists continue fight year after Zimmerman verdict". USA Today. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mervis, Scott. "Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X goes beyond the politics on national debut 'Ascension'". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b Chandler, D. L. (13 March 2015). "Pittsburgh Rapper Jasiri X Receives Artist As Activist Fellowship Grant". Hip-Hop Wired.
  4. ^ a b Schultz, Kayla (March 3, 2015). ""The Internet Is My Lifeline": Hip-Hop Artist Jasiri X on the FCC's Net Neutrality Vote". Yes! Magazine. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b New Pittsburgh Courier Editorial Staff (6 February 2013). "One Hood Media gives voice to Black males". New Pittsburgh Courier. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b Hook, Skyy (8 May 2016). "Rapper/Activist Jasiri X To Receive Honorary PHD". Allhiphop. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b Mervis, Scott (November 11, 2015). "Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X named a USA Fellow". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Local Nation of Islam minister reaches out". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  9. ^ Sheets, Connor Adams (27 March 2012). "Trayvon Martin Tribute Songs From Chaka Khan to Jasiri X [VIDEOS]". International Business Times. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  10. ^ King, Shaun (October 27, 2014). "The definitive discography of police protest songs with videos and lyrics". The Daily Kos. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  11. ^ Kent, Tom (2010-07-19). "Jasiri X, Pittsburgh Rapper, Asks America: 'What If The Tea Party Was Black?' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  12. ^ Christopher, Tommy (July 15, 2010). "New Rap Video Asks 'What if the Tea Party Was Black?'". Mediaite. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Allen, Freddie (October 21, 2014). "Time For Hip-Hop Artists to Stand For Black Community". Sacramento Observer. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  14. ^ Ivey, Justin (July 28, 2016). "'If I can help with the healing, it's worth it': Baton Rouge rapper Marcel P. Black talks new album, 'Cry Freedom'". The Advocate. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  15. ^ "Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X goes beyond the politics on national debut 'Ascension'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  16. ^ Creekmur, Chuck "Jigsaw" (November 27, 2015). "REVIEW: Jasiri X's "Black Liberation Theology" Invites Listeners To An Audio Revolution". AllHiphop. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  17. ^ Ocker, Kenny (January 17, 2016). "Q&A with rapper Jasiri X, who takes social message to UPS for MLK event". The News Tribune. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  18. ^ a b Mervis, Scott (March 9, 2015). "Fellowship boosts Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X's cachet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  19. ^ Breihan, Tom (24 February 2015). "R.E.M., Neutral Milk Hotel, Britt Daniel, Kathleen Hanna & More Endorse Net Neutrality In Open Letter To FCC". Stereogum. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  20. ^ Bell, Merleyn; Willett, Paige (August 29, 2016). "Rapper Jasiri X Aims To Change Minds One Rhyme At A Time". KGOU. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  21. ^ "Grammy Award Winning Che "Rhymefest" & Activist Jasiri X Form Super Hip-Hop Duo "Kill Switch"". sankofa.org. Retrieved 2017-03-14.

External links[edit]