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LEMONADE now available!!!

LEMONADE Let’s you and I call it the album of the year, and later on, somebody else will 🙂 I appreciate the support. GOAL Numero Uno is getting more eyes and ears on it, please share lyrics, video of you JAMMING, or anything! Your support means the world to me. I’m excited about this album,…

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Laquan and Woodrow Wilson: A Case for Horrific Images

***ORIGINALLY POSTED on HUFFINGTON POST on 11.25.15*** Note: This post contains graphic imagery that may be disturbing to some readers. Two seminal moments have happened almost concurrently within the past couple of days; so fast is the news cycle that we almost didn’t notice. Both were huge victories and both instantly created polarizing opinions and heated…

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When Pastors Become Janitors: Tyshawn Lee and Beyond

***Originally posted on Huffington Post on 11.11.2015*** Tyshawn Lee’s funeral was this past Tuesday. He was nine years old, and gunned down on the Southside of Chicago on November 2, execution-style, allegedly by his father’s rival gang. Depending on your news source, some say his death was not random, but he was lured into the…

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On WINDY CITY LIVE (ABC7 Chicago) performing “Don’t Push Me”

You can read the story of my own history with bullying HERE, and it all amounts to a song called “Don’t Push Me,” with the incomparable Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago and Karees Brown. Things move fast…not one week after recording “Don’t Push Me,” we performed on Windy City Live! (Chicago, ABC7)…

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Don’t Push Me: My Bully Story

I wrote “Don’t Push Me” because I remember — too well — going to school and being called “blockhead”… …being super light-skinned and having a nice round head, and basically having my name changed to “Casper”… …or my first bully, Shermar, from 6th grade. Every time he saw me, he would push me out of…

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VIDEO: “I Woke Up!”

The first single from “LEMONADE” – the album upcoming. Chicago summers are the best in the world. This is proof. Enjoy and Share! “I Woke Up” is available on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, Rhapsody…all of them. So please add to your playlists, drop a dollar if you can, and remember – no matter what is happening…

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MUSIC: “I Woke Up!”

The 1st single from LEMONADE…love. every. single. second. you. have. SUPPORT ON iTUNES <– THANK YOU! SUPPORT ON BANDCAMP (for non-iTunes users) Bandcamp: [bandcamp width=100% height=120 track=203524319 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=de270f tracklist=false artwork=small]   Soundcloud: Youtube link: (Prod by Redd Lettaz – @reddlettaz)   **send email to talk2j@jkwest.com for acapella/instrumental**   LYRICS Respect life, put the…

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Featured in WTTW11 docfilm “Violence in Chicago”

***JK was interviewed for this, and it highlights some of the work happening at University Church*** Program Description: Violence in Chicago: Responding with Faith is an hour-long documentary produced by the Chicago Sunday Evening Club, which will premiere Thursday, May 28th at 9PM on WTTW Channel 11. The documentary highlights the city-wide cost of violence for all…

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The State of the Union is like Wrestling, and Other Truths

In all likelihood, you just watched the State of the Union address, and one of three things is happening inside your beautiful mind: You want to talk about it more with people who share your opinion, -or- You have no opinion and came to the internet to find one, -or- You came to argue. There…

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INTERVIEW + VIDEO: “Ministry Matters”

SALT Project brought me back for another one…this time, to talk a bit about my call and how I understood “ministry” as a kid. Hopefully we can return to a place where we see ministry as the greatest honor! It went so well the Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) decided to…

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85 Seconds: The Story of a (Quitting) Marathoner

THE STARTING LINE Why did I start running? About 12 years ago, a cardiologist told me that he was sick of being a doctor… No, that’s not what happened. About 12 years ago, I started feeling dizzy at a club in downtown Atlanta. It was my freshman year at Morehouse College, and I did what…

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Music: THIRTYWON (+ lyrics vid)

Every birthday, I release another record. I try to anyway 🙂 Here’s 31, with a lyrics video for some that really struggle with hearing rap, or need to know if he reeeeally just said that. Yep.  

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“Of Horses and Foxes: Chicago’s Next Move”

CHICAGO – May 13, 2014 When the Chicago Community Trust called and asked me to help moderate one of their “On the Table”discussions happening around the city, I wanted to know more about my audience and whether this would be a conversation worth moving out of bed on my day off. Our beloved city is known…

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LENT: Journey to Freedom

It takes no strength to give up, to accept shackles of soul, to shrug the shoulder in bland acquiescence. This is easy. But do not congratulate yourself that you have solved anything. These are the words of Howard Thurman, whom I hold in the highest regard. In many ways these are also the words of…

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STRANGE FRUIT wins EMMY!!!

[UPDATE #2: WE WON AN EMMY!!! “Strange Fruit” won in the “Best Historical/Cultural” category. Thank you all for your support. Continue to share it! Sadly it’s still too relevant] [UPDATE #1: just got word that “Strange Fruit” was nominated for an Emmy (Lower Great Lakes region). The ceremony will be June 27, 2015. Stay tuned!!!]…

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Growing Up on Being Gay (a tale of evolution from a straight man)

***A few weeks ago, I did a sermon that mulled over the following question: “What is the difference between a disagreement, a debate, and an argument?” Whatever you read below is my attempt at following my own ethics. We will disagree on this*** Yesterday, University of Missouri football player Michael Sam came out as gay, and…

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The Black Church, Obama, and Gay Marriage

*This article and the variety of opinions expressed therein originally appeared on URBAN FAITH, a site dedicated to black church life and culture. Julian was asked to give his opinion when President Obama offered his thoughts on same-sex marriage. The original article, and comments, can be found here: http://www.urbanfaith.com/2012/05/the-black-church-obama-and-gay-marriage.html/ Black Christian leaders speak out on President…

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What Kendrick Lamar Can Teach Christian Hip Hop

*This piece originally appeared on RAPZILLA* View the original and the comments here: http://www.rapzilla.com/rz/features/story/5248 Kendrick Lamar’s album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”, is brilliant, period. If for nothing else, it fully encapsulates the sound of an emerging (here!) Cali – artists who grew up with (but not as) the bangers, and possess the acumen to convey without…

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The Non-Runners Guide to Running

The Non-Runners Guide to Running The Chicago Marathon in October 2012 was my first, and a behemoth of an experience. I trained roughly 30 weeks, using Hal Higdon’s program (www.halhigdon.com). I needed 12 extra weeks on the front end simply to get ready for the 18 that actual training requires (that’s how nervous I was).…

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