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Javon Johnson

Spoken Word Poet, Activist & Professor

Merging the sharp criticism of critical race and gender theory with comedic know-how, poetic lyricism and, at times, hip-hop rhyme schemes, Javon Johnson quickly has become one of the most awarded and well-known poetic communicators. He won back-to-back national slam titles in 2003 with team Los Angeles and in 2004 with team Hollywood. In 2005,…

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Merging the sharp criticism of critical race and gender theory with comedic know-how, poetic lyricism and, at times, hip-hop rhyme schemes, Javon Johnson quickly has become one of the most awarded and well-known poetic communicators.

He won back-to-back national slam titles in 2003 with team Los Angeles and in 2004 with team Hollywood. In 2005, he placed third nationally with team Hollywood, making him the only poet in slam history to make the national finals in three consecutive years.

Johnson has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café and co-wrote poetic narration for a documentary titled Crossover, which aired on Showtime in collaboration with the NBA, Magic Johnson Group, Penny Marshall and Nike. After seeing Johnson perform, a reviewer for The Los Angeles Times reported, “It’s hard not to have good times while watching him (Johnson) have a good time on stage.”

A doctoral candidate in performance studies at Northwestern University, Johnson is examining issues of race, gender, sexuality and class in pop culture. His dissertation is a multisided project between Los Angeles, Chicago and New York that looks at identity politics and community negotiation in slam and spoken-word poetry communities.

He has taught many courses on performance, public speaking, literature and issues of identity politics at institutions such as Northwestern, Los Angeles Community College and California State University at Los Angeles, where he earned his bachelor of arts and master’s degrees in communication studies.

He is a five-time intercollegiate Speech & Debate National Champion, an All-American and a competitor who has earned in excess of 500 awards during his undergraduate years.

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Topics

And Your Kids Will Be Painted Black

The Politics and Performance of Hip-Hop

Merging race and gender theory with comedy,
lyricism, and rhyme schemes, Javon is an
enlightening spoken word poet and professor.
Javon has become a very awarded spoken
word/slam poet. Javon began writing in 2001,
winning slam nationals in 2003 (team Los Angeles),
in 2004 (team Hollywood), in 2005 he placed 3rd
(one of a handful of poets to make finals three
years in a row), and returning to slam after a brief
hiatus, Javon placed 5th in 2011, 4th in 2012, and
2nd in 2013 (team Hollywood). Javon has appeared
on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café,
TVOnes Verses & Flow, and co-wrote a
documentary titled Crossover, which aired on
Showtime, in collaboration with the NBA and Nike.

Videos

Javon Johnson - "Building"

Javon Johnson, Spoken word artist (1/2)

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