JK About



2011 – BATMAN & BATMAN (as part of Verbal Kwest)


2006 – ARE & BE

2005 – 20/20: THE INVISION EP


“Music has no limits, no boundaries. Rhythm is a space to share and hear the truth – your truth, universal Truth, God…music is the most beautiful opportunity to break and be broken.”

J.Kwest lives in the space between soul music and souls period. As an artist, this Chicago native and Morehouse Man; Pastor, advocate, and EMMY Award winner has used his unique rhythm to tell stories of deep meaning inside and out of the church.

In Chicago he has been featured on CBS, ABC, Fox, and on the cover of the Chicago Reader; performed at the Taste of Chicago and the Gospel Festival, and his social work includes currently serving as Chair of the Community Advisory Council for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

J.Kwest has appeared in JET, Vice, 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,” and his latest album, LEMONADE (2015), continues to receive critical praise across the music industry.


“I believe these stories are universally significant. We only spend a couple of hours in church, and we need a soundtrack for the rest of life.”


A 2007 Holy Hip Hop Award winner, his song “So Blessed” was featured on the Grammy-nominated compilation, Holy Hip Hop: Taking the Gospel to the Streets. In 2012, he and his group, Verbal Kwest, were featured in the OXFAM & Bread for the World-produced documentary, The Line, providing a critical voice against poverty and violence in the US. In 2015, Kwest won an Emmy Award for helping write and perform in a video entitled, “Strange Fruit,” 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 and Sojourners publications. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he received his M.Div degree, and McCormick Theological Seminary.

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J.Kwest’s new handle on all platforms is @PureKwest FYI #StayWoke