The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Malik Yusef Jones

Share on Social Media

Information about Malik Yusef Jones

Profile image of Malik Yusef Jones

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Spoken Word Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Fuschia
Favorite Food:
Mangoes, Broccoli
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Lucia
Favorite Quote:
The Illusion Is Everyone Wants The Truth, But The Truth Is Everyone Wants The Illusion

Birthplace

Born:
4/4/1971
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Spoken Word Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Fuschia
Favorite Food:
Mangoes, Broccoli
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Lucia
Favorite Quote:
The Illusion Is Everyone Wants The Truth, But The Truth Is Everyone Wants The Illusion

Birthplace

Born:
4/4/1971
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Malik Yusef Jones is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Spoken word artist Malik Yusef was born Malik Yusef Jones on April 4, 1971 in Chicago, Illinois. Yusef was raised on Chicago’s Southside in the neighborhood commonly referred to as the “Wild 100’s.” As a teenager, Yusef became a member of the Islamic street gang, the Blackstone Rangers. During this time, he also overcame his challenge with dyslexia.

Yusef began performing spoken word in open mic venues in the late 1980s. He had his first big break in 1997 when Ted Witcher, director of the film, Love Jones, recognized his poetry and hired him to coach the film’s lead actor, Larenz Tate. In 2002, Yusef along with jazz saxophonist Mike Phillips collaborated on the song “This Is Not A Game,” which was selected by Michael Jordan to appear on the CD that came with the purchase of limited edition Jordan 17 sneakers. That same year, he performed his poem entitled “I spit...” on the Grammy-winning second season of HBO’s Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam.” He released his debut album in the compilation of The Great Chicago Fire; A Cold Day in Hell in 2003. Yusef has performed at “The Art of Love Tour” featuring Raheem DeVaughn and Chrisette Michele; the “Real Thing Tour” featuring Jill Scott & Raheem DeVaughn; “Touch the Sky Tour” featuring Kanye West & Keyshia Cole; the Carl Thomas & Mary J. Blige Tour; and the Glow in the Dark Tour featuring Kanye West. In 2007, Yusef collaborated with Director Frey Hoffman for the film adaptation of his poem “Hollywood Jerome.” Kanye West and Yusef released the album Good Morning & Good Night in 2008.

Yusef received a Peabody Award nomination in 2000 and was the Truth Award “Spoken Word Artist of the Year” from 2001 to 2005. In 2006, Kanye West’s CD, Late Registration, which featured Yusef’s poetry on the song “Crack Music” was awarded a Grammy Award. That same year, Yusef won an Independent Film Project Award for Hollywood Jerome. He was also awarded the “Best Poet” by the Chicago Music Awards from 2002 to 2008.

Yusef is the father of three children and resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Yusef was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 17, 2008.

See how Malik Yusef Jones is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Malik Yusef Jones' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Malik Yusef Jones lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Malik Yusef Jones describes the Jones Brothers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his great uncle, Hubbard Smith
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his father's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his father's activism
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his father's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers the Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Malik Yusef Jones describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his mother's abuse, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his mother's abuse, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls his father's involvement in SNCC
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his likeness to his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers selling narcotics
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Malik Yusef Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his parents' separation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his learning disabilities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls his mother's depression
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his father's home improvement skills
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his early experiences of religion
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls the Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Malik Yusef Jones describes the history of gangs in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers joining the Blackstone Rangers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his route to Chicago Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls his early years as a Blackstone Ranger
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls the gang activity at Chicago Vocational High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his studies at Chicago Vocational High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his personality as a teenager
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls leaving Chicago Vocational High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Malik Yusef Jones describes the Blackstone Rangers' connection to the Moorish Science Temple
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Malik Yusef Jones describes the Blackstone Rangers' community service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers Mayor Harold Washington's death
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers selling crack cocaine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Malik Yusef Jones describes the drug trade in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his first poem
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers the drug trade in the white community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his early poems
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls writing 'If Roses Came In Black,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls writing 'If Roses Came In Black,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Malik Yusef Jones describes the poem he wrote for his son's mother
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his poem, 'The Ceremony'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his first poetry reading
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his first poetry slam
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls performing at the Spices Jazz Bar in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Malik Yusef Jones talks about the Public Place of Amusement laws
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Malik Yusef Jones recall gaining prominence as a poet
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls the atmosphere at the Spices Jazz Bar
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls defending a white patron at the Spices Jazz Bar
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers Maria McCray
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers the growth of his poetry career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Malik Yusef Jones recalls filming 'Love Jones'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers the premiere of 'Love Jones'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers the positive response to 'Love Jones'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his relationship with women
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his start in the music industry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Malik Yusef Jones remembers his first collaboration with Kanye West
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Malik Yusef Jones describes Kanye West
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Malik Yusef Jones talks about music and poetry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Malik Yusef Jones talks about the negative influence of rap music
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his art's message
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Malik Yusef Jones reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Malik Yusef Jones describes his children
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Malik Yusef Jones describes how he would like to be remembered