J.Kwest lives in the space between soul music and souls period. As an artist, advocate, and pastor, this Emmy-Award winning Chicago native has used his unique rhythm to tell true stories and defy boundaries.
In Chicago he has been featured on CBS, ABC, Fox, and on the cover of the Chicago Reader; in Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the “40 Under 40” leaders serving in Chicago; in the Center for American Progress’ list of “10 Leaders to Watch in 2018.” The Morehouse College graduate has performed as near as the Taste of Chicago festival and as far as Japan. In the community, J is currently serving as Chair of the Community Advisory Council for the University of Chicago Medical Center.
J.Kwest has appeared in Vice, JET Magazine and Rolling Out; on Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Oprah & Friends” Sirius XM show and at the Children’s Defense Fund; Urban Ministries International has named him “Living Black History.”
We only spend a couple of hours in church, and we need a soundtrack for the rest of life.
While also being featured for his perspective on poverty in the OXFAM/Bread for the World documentary, The Line, in 2015, J.Kwest won an Emmy Award for helping write and perform in a video entitled, “Strange Fruit,” a meditation on racial violence celebrating the 75th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s song.
Rev. Julian “J.Kwest” DeShazier currently serves as pastor of University Church in Chicago and is a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Sojourners, and Patheos publications. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he received his Master of Divinity degree, and McCormick Theological Seminary.
2015 – LEMONADE
2011 – BATMAN & BATMAN (as part of Verbal Kwest)
2011 – THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BRUCE WAYNE (as Verbal Kwest)
2006 – ARE & BE
2005 – 20/20: THE INVISION EP
2004 – FEED THE KIDS MIXTAPEABOUT