Julian DeShazier

Julian DeShazier

Contact Julian DeShazier

Rev. Julian DeShazier
For more than 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. A 2015 Emmy Award winner, Julian appeared in the video “Strange Fruit,” a commemoration of the Billie Holiday song and a meditation on racial violence, 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.

The vision of J.Kwest and his “PureMusic” brand is to strengthen yet stretch beyond our notions of faith. Says the 32-year old: “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.” The Soundtrack to a Better Life.

Julian currently serves as pastor of University Church in Chicago, and is a regular to Sojourners and Huffington Post publications. 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, where he is also an adjunct professor.

Learn more and listen in at: www.jkwest.com


Morehouse College
University of Chicago (Adjunct Professor at the Divinity School)
Wrote chapter in Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil (re: the lives of young pastors (2015)
McCormick Theological Seminary (Adjunct Professor)Community Renewal Society Board Member
United Church of Christ
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Disciples Divinity House Board Member
Community Renewal Society
Academy of Preachers
Coca-Cola Leadership Program
Chautauqua Institute New Clergy Program
NGLI – United Church of Christ
Fund for Theological Education
FTE Mentorship Group
Chicago Commons Project

Article By Julian DeShazier