Julian "J.Kwest" Deshazier

Julian "J.Kwest" Deshazier will host Spirit Slam. Julian is an artist and pastor. As an artist, this Chicago native has used his unique rhythm to tell stories of deep meaning, inside and out of the church. 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 and J has been celebrated as “Living Black History” by Urban Ministries International. In 2012 he and his group, Verbal Kwest, were featured in the OXFAM and Bread for the World-produced documentary The Line, providing a critical voice against poverty and violence in the US.

As a testament to the versatility of his ministry, he has appeared on CBS, and ABC7, and in Rolling Out and N’Digo magazines; on Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Oprah & Friends” radio station and at the Children’s Defense Fund; while sharing stages at every major gospel music festival, the Taste of Chicago, and speaking at the national conventions for both the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Julian is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Julian is pastor of University Church in Chicago and is a regular contributor to Sojourners and UrbanFaith publications. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School and McCormick Theological Seminary.