For nearly a decade, the ministry of Julian “J.Kwest” DeShazier has been an exploration in the relationship between music and faith. As artist, this Chicago native has used his unique rhythm to tell stories of deep meaning, inside and out of the church. He is a 2007 Holy Hip Hop Award winner, and has been celebrated as “Living Black History” by Urban Ministries International, while sharing stages at every major gospel music festival. His song, “So Blessed,” was featured on the grammy-nominated compilation Holy Hip Hop: Taking the Gospel to the Streets.
The vision for J.Kwest and his “PureMusic” brand is to strengthen yet stretch beyond our notions of faith. Says the 28-year old: “I believe these stories are universally significant. We only spend a couple of hours in church, and I want to make a soundtrack for the rest of life.” The Soundtrack to a Better Life.
As a testament to the versatility of his message, J.Kwest has been featured on Fox 32 (Chicago) and in Rolling Out and Blackgurl publications; on Dr. Maya Angelou’s XM radio station; at the Children’s Defense Fund; and has been a feature performer at the Taste of Chicago Festival. He is blogger on super-producer Pharrell Williams’ Kidult site, and is a national voice for youth rights.
Considering his skills on the mic, most will be shocked to learn that J.Kwest is also a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College (where his father – Dr. Robert Franklin – serves as President), and earned his Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School. All of this, while beginning in 2010 as Senior Minister at University Church in Chicago.
And this is only the beginning. Tell a friend, tell again…
J.Kwest is also a part of the group Verbal Kwest, which in 2011 released, “Batman & Batman.” Verbal Kwest was the cover story of an August issue of N’Digo magazine.