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Team Bios

President / Producer & Co-Director, “George Floyd: Say Their Names”
Christopher Owens

Chris Owens is a “boomer” and proud of it.  He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a music-teaching mother and a librarian-turned-politician father.  With the founding of ARTivistUS, its President, CEO and “first client” Chris Owens has fully extended the teachings of his parents into the passions of his life:  build a better world and support artistic creativity.

Working in the private, public and non-profit sectors for 40 years, Chris managed people and projects.  He served as Chair of what is now The Weeksville Heritage Center, led member services for a City-wide Medicaid managed care health plan, was a founding Board member of a Charter school, built the infrastructure of a legal advocacy non-profit in its start-up phase, and was an active member of the Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission, a non-profit founded by his late father and former Congressman, Hon. Major R. Owens (D-NY).  Prior to his recent retirement, Chris Owens served as leader of the re-entry programs for two District Attorneys of Kings County (Brooklyn), the late Kenneth P. Thompson and incumbent Eric Gonzalez.

Chris Owens has been a political activist.  In addition to civic and political activism around reform politics in Central Brooklyn, Chris was a candidate for City Council (1989) and served for six years as a community school board member.  Chris sought election to the U.S. House of Representatives (2006), and then served as a member of the NYS Democratic Committee.  In 2008, Owens hosted “Black Politics with Chris Owens” on Air America Radio, and was elected an Obama Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Chris’ commitment to social justice and progressive change was rooted in the Owens family’s commitment to the arts as languages of love and empowerment.  After graduating from college, he started writing his own songs and performing both solo and as a duo with brother Geoffrey.  In 1984, Chris Owens released his album-length compilation of songs, Anyone’s Revolution. Shortly thereafter, Chris joined the People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom & Struggle and was encouraged to continue his songwriting by family friend Pete Seeger, among others.  Since the 1970s, Chris has performed solo, with his own bands — including “OBB – The Owens Brothers Band”, and with other singer-songwriters and choruses.

In 2020, COVID-19 created a new world, for better or for worse.  Having lost his wife of 28 years to cancer in 2019, Chris decided that COVID needed to create new lives, and not just destroy lives. Thus, CHRIS OLEDUDE was born (pronounced “Ohl-dude”).  With the recording of “My Tower,” Chris Oledude started a new chapter.  The murder of George Floyd also led Chris Oledude to release “George Floyd: Say Their Names.”  This powerful video has received attention at film festivals around the world, earning nearly 100 honors to date, including 28 Best Music Video awards.

Today, Chris remains an active member of the People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle and other groups.  His exposure to brilliant songwriters and compelling performers within these collectives – many of whom are older and not technologically adept — has inspired the creation of ARTivistUS as a tool to provide these lesser-known bards and balladeers of all ages with opportunities to build their fan base and have their music and other gifts contribute to positive change worldwide.

Operations & Planning Coordinator
Ashley Grumman

Ashley is a virtual assistant living in Philadelphia. Her background in customer service and hospitality and her passion for mental health and wellness has led her to assist heart-centered businesses succeed and reach or exceed their goals. Ashley’s expertise includes “all things inbox” management and administrative support for business operations and graphic art. She is on a mission to integrate mindfulness and compassion into everything she does.

A Binghamton University graduate with a Bachelor’s in English, Ashley’s pursuit of education is ongoing; she is currently finishing a two-year certification program to teach meditation and mindfulness. The core of her studies consists of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and building the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that will support her growth and the capacity to teach a wide range of practitioners. Ashley’s hobbies include hiking, learning new skills, and cooking big messy bowls of noodle soup for her and her roommates.

Social Media Oversight
Tiffany Jodice

Tiffany is an East Coast girl currently living in sunny Dubai. Diverse doesn’t even begin to define her background which is exactly what she likes. From Tour Manager, to Marketing across the USA, a certificate in Cosmetology to Business Owner. She’s done it all and then some. With a passion for social justice and a firm believer that everyone should have equal rights has led her to ARTivistUS. Social media is her jam and connecting with people from around the world is what fuels her. Her motto is: Traveling changes you. You leave a piece of yourself as you gain something new. And hey, what’s the worst thing that could happen anyway?

Websites
Kayla Spelling

Kayla is a wild-haired, green-eyed Kentucky girl who’s a freewheelin’ photographer, no rules videographer, and a midnight designer. To keep it simple: A visual storyteller.

She’s a master at web design, digital design, photography, and video DSLR filmmaking. This ambitiousness and tenacity of exploring the visual mediums paid off and landed her a year long video contract for the Lorenzo de Medici Study Abroad Institute in Florence, Italy as soon as she graduated from Western Kentucky University. Add to that internships with renowned cinematographer and filmmaker Philip Bloom and a Manager In Creative Services position with Provident Music Group (Sony), Kayla is proof that talent and ambition go hand in hand.

With a (slightly concerning) obsession with tea and Doctor Who (David Tennant is by far the best Doctor), Kayla makes her home in Cincinnati, OH with her growing collection of Tardis’s and fluffy cats (who don’t mind her silent film star crush on Buster Keaton).

ADMINISTRATION
Katelynn Barron

Katelynn lives in Texas with her husband and three kids. She’s a virtual assistant who specializes in everything from content creation to executive assistant. She’s passionate about helping others achieve their goals and is constantly taking new courses to expand her skill set as she believes that the sky’s the limit for success. Her hobbies include reading and playing softball.

Social Media
Cristabel Byrd

Cristabel Byrd is a Brooklyn born girl from a very opinionate and active family. She is familiar with working hard to be heard over others. This might explain her interest in social media and communication.

Currently studying the complicated relationships between identity, soceity, and social media. She hopes to take the lessons and apply to creating more thoughtful spaces on the internet. She is also a self taught video editor and plant caretaker. In recent years, she’s worked on a public broadcasting show, that utilized both these talents, while teaching her the basics of live broadcasting and management.

As a senior student of SUNY Purchase, Cristabel hopes to take her love of building community communication and her understanding of social media’s power to craft a safe, productive space for creators.

Social Media / Co-Director & Editor, “George Floyd: Say Their Names”
Alyssa Dann

Alyssa Dann was a quiet and reserved child raised in a very musical household. Her father is a highly-regarded bass and guitar player and her mother is a singer. For Alyssa, music has always been her voice. She started lessons at the age of five and songwriting by seven. By 13, Alyssa was playing bass on her father’s gigs at clubs in New York City. Fast forward to 2018, and Alyssa, while still in high school, was performing in New York City and Boston and releasing her own recordings.

During high school, Alyssa was introduced to the power of storytelling through film. She directed, filmed, and edited two of her own music videos, and fell in love with video editing. In a “Media as Service” program with Woodstock Travels, she visited India and Nepal, working with NGOs to create promotional content. After high school, she taught video editing and recording media arts to 8th Grade kids — in her old classroom!

Alyssa’s decision to direct and edit “George Floyd: Say Their Names” during her transition to college has opened her eyes and changed her life — and she is not looking back.

Alyssa recently started attending Sarah Lawrence College (US-NY), Class of 2024, and sees herself majoring in Psychology, Public Health and Music.

Social Media
Mahima Kotian

Mahima Kotian is a content creator. Growing up in Mumbai and Jamaica has made her an eclectic mix of a city + island girl. As much as she loves the hustle of the city, no place makes her as happy as the ocean.

After pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Mahima craved some creativity. So she decided to move to San Francisco to pursue a Master’s degree in Communications. She loves everything to do with content creation, from photography, videography to editing. Mahima aspires to be a videographer and video editor, and narrate great stories through her content.

Social Media
Zanie Marudo

Zanie Marudo goes by a non-stop mentality. An immigrant from the Philippines to being a graduate from Temple University and current Cinema & Media Studies Masters of Arts candidate at The New School in New York, it is safe to say there is no limit to the ambition she has. As a recipient of New York University Tisch School of the Arts Future Film Scholar and a member of The Blackhouse Foundation SEEN Filmmakers, Marudo is an avid believer for the power of the arts and education to defy the barriers through storytelling. Aside from her focus on media creation, film, and social justice, Marudo enjoys exploring cities, creative writing, beauty/fashion, and discovering new music.

Videographer
JEREMY MEJIA

Jeremy Mejia was born and raised in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, NY. He is currently finishing his Entertainment Technology degree at the City University of New York, where he concentrated on videography. Jeremy’s focus has been on creating and producing video documentaries, music videos and videos of live performances. In his spare time, he enjoys creating experimental music, playing bass guitar and painting.

Social Media
Christine Obiamalu

Christine is a New York University graduate with a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Music Business. She is a digital marketing specialist, writer, yoga teacher and a musician. She has worked in the digital marketing departments for Roc Nation, B.B. Kings, Terra Kulture, the Ake Festival and many others. She currently runs a digital marketing start-up, COBI, and is also the Global Partnership Manager for a music distribution company called Goje distribution.  Christine’s writing focuses on music, pop culture and politics, which has been published in ‘The Executive Tea’, ‘Saddie Baddies’, ‘GirlGang’ and ‘The Glory Network’. Christine is also a trained pianist, singer, and songwriter.

Her first EP project was released Fall of 2020 and she has since had the privilege to perform in Lagos, Cape Town, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York City. She has also written music for documentaries and short films. Christine is also a big wellness and mental health advocate. In her spare time, she teaches yoga and meditation classes.

Social Media
Jessica Ward

Jess Ward is a musician, writer, and digital marketer from the Greater Boston area. She graduated from Saint Michael’s College with a degree in Media Studies & Digital Arts, concluding her studies in Copenhagen, Denmark where she lived in musician-only housing and studied the city’s musical history and significance. After a short stint with Indie617 before the COVID-19 pandemic, she went on to write for indie music blog Unheard Gems, as she’s passionate about uplifting up and coming artists. She loves studying astrology, going for long walks in the woods, and is a self-proclaimed Oscar Wilde enthusiast.

To contact any ARTivistUS Team member, please send an email to admin@artivistus.com OR text 267-946-0557.
YOU CAN REACH US AT

315 Flatbush Avenue, #521
Brooklyn, NY 11217-2813

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