Chicago writer, artist, and poet, J. Ivy is known for painting pictures with his words. A gifted storyteller, a teacher encouraged him to write poetry, and was drawn to the art form. Since that pivotal moment, J. Ivy has continued to bless audiences with vivid illustrations of love, life, growth, tragedy, and triumph.
The Grammy-nominated artist has been recognized as one of the premier poets and spoken word artists working with industry heavyweights. The NAACP award winner burst onto the national scene with his appearances on HBO’s Def Poetry and his feature with Jay-Z and Kanye West on the College Dropout album. Since then, the Chicago artist has stayed “booked and busy.”
Ivy poetically narrated, acted, and starred in the Award Winning B.E.T. documentary, Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ, and the NAACP Nominated documentary, Martin: The Legacy of a King. Ivy also wrote and narrated Beyoncé’s Black Is King Clio Award Winning promo for the 2020 Return of the NBA. He is also the Resident Poet for the foundation of famed visual artist Ernie Barnes.
An author and spoken word artist, J. Ivy is the author of three books including Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain, and five studio albums. His 5th album, CATCHING DREAMS: Live at Fort Knox Chicago, was nominated for a GRAMMY in the category of Best-Spoken Word Album.
Recently he performed during halftime for the New York Knicks MLK Day at Madison Square Garden and he appeared on NBC’s new hit show Grand Crew. He is also the lead writer for the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary jeen-yuhs: A Kanye West Trilogy, which chronicles the career of the Hip-Hop megastar Kanye West.
After serving as the Recording Academy’s Chicago Chapter President, he has also become the first poet to hold a Trustee’s seat in the history of the Academy and was instrumental in the creation of a new category specifically for poets and spoken word artists.
The Chicago Defender spoke with J. Ivy about his Chicago roots, the success he has enjoyed as an artist, and his upcoming album release in September.