Pastor by Day, Rapper by Night: Chicago Rev. Julian 'J. Kwest' D - New York News

Pastor by Day, Rapper by Night: Chicago Rev. Julian 'J. Kwest' DeShazier Inspires With God's Word


By night he's a rapper, each line filled with words inspired by justice, love and its potential. But by day, Julian "J. Kwest" DeShazier is a senior pastor at University Church Chicago in Hyde Park.

"I think about rap and working in the church as being bilingual," DeShazier said. "The same passion using two different languages to say the same thing, using two different ways of communicating the same message of love and of peace and of justice."

The 28-year-old is a graduate of Morehouse and said he was inspired by incredible men and women who were committed to the church, but who also had other ways of reaching out. And on April 10, he became the youngest pastor ever at University Church.

Older members of the congregation said they need someone in a leadership role who can connect with younger parishoners.

"You've got to change with the times," said Pat Wilcoxen, who's been attending University Church for more than 30 years. "We needed somebody that was young and had energy and could relate to the young people. If you get the young people, you'll get their families but you need the young people first."

So far, he hasn't rapped from the pulpit, but he said that day is coming.

"I have planned -- the whole sermon is going to be a rap, it's just going to be hip hop," he said.

Do you feel like your congregation is ready for that?

"Well, they were ready for me."

DeShazier is the son of Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, the President of Morehouse College, where he graduated with a degree in Sociology in 2005, and Vicky DeShazier.

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