Joe Davis is an incredible poet, activist, and teacher but even a better human being. I have had the chance to work with Joe over the last few years and have seen him connect with people of all backgrounds. He has a way of using his art to build bridges and inspire people to be better human beings. He is what I consider an “edutainer". Someone who not only entertains people with gifted poetry, but also inspirational messages that will help them in life. As we attempt to address the opportunity gap in this state, we need leaders of color like Joe that will challenge us to take care of all of our children. The world and our community need Joe’s message right now.
David Scherer | CEO of Hip Hop Outreach | hiphopoutreach.com
When we asked Joe to be not only an MC but also an artist and theologian-in-residence for the Extravaganza, we knew that we were asking a lot. Joe not only rose to the occasion, he exceeded our expectations, capturing the themes of our event in creative and theologically sound ways. He was also great to work with, always communicating clearly, arriving on time, and being flexible around our changing needs. We definitely recommend him!
Dawn Trautman & Tim Huff | Main Stage Team Leaders | Extravaganza
Joe Davis has participated in our Poets in Schools Grant program for several years and I cannot say enough about his artistic skills as a poet and innate ability to work with high school students. Feedback from schools is always exemplary! This year, Joe and his band, The Poetic Diaspora, performed at our State Poetry Out Loud Competition. They had the students and audience out of their seats singing and grooving to the music! What wonderful way to end the event! Kudos Joe!
Rebecca Engelman | Art in Education Director | ND Council of Arts
Joe Davis once said he’s "a lover and a fighter because he fights for love", and this perfectly sums up who he is. Kind, sincere, engaging, thought-provoking, intelligent, relational, creative, and resolute, he is an artist with an approachability to his art. I've toured with him more than once and I love watching him engage an audience not only during the show but as he builds relationships offstage wherever he goes!
Rachel Kurtz | National singer-songwriter | RachelKurtz.org
Joe is the real deal. Poet, teacher, and philanthropist wrapped into one very genuine person. I have enjoyed working with him on multiple projects. His passion shines through in every inch of the things he is involved with. If I wasnt married with a mortgage, I would quit my day job and hit the road promoting Joe to the ends of the earth. Hands down.
Dan Hansen | Founder of RTL Entertainment | iamrtl.com
Joe Davis is one of the most gifted and talented leaders that I know. His unique and artistic form is a true sight to see. I find Joe to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. As an author, teacher, poet, and seminarian he is a jack of all trades. His prophetic and poetic voice is one that is highly admired in many spaces. I find Joe to be a leader in North Minneapolis where he helps to bridge the generational and hermeneutical gaps by any means necessary. His words show many residents how to aspire to inspire before they expire. His leadership is a witness to many youth and young adults in the Twin Cities. His faith and steadfastness truly gives hope to the future generations that come after him. Joe Davis is what the game is missing! Whether religious or secular, the world can learn and benefit immensely from what this stand up gentlemen can produce. Give him a pen, notebook, and mic and simply watch the power of the Holy Spirit flank within any atmosphere. Don't believe me....just watch!
Rev Louis Tillman | Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran | Popphilly.org
Having Joe Davis in my classroom recently was like drinking an energy drink. He engaged all the students and got them to think poetry, write poetry, and share poetry. As a teacher at an alternative high school, I can honestly say that surprised me. Joe shook things up in my class, energized my students, and gave me strategies on incorporating poetry more intentionally in my curriculum. Professional, charismatic, and real, Joe connected with my students like few outside speakers can. I'm looking forward to working with Joe in some way in the future. I'd be remiss if I didn't look for ways to connect. He's just that good.
Eileen Zygarlicke | English Educator | Community High School
Joe Davis has worked as an Artist-in-Residence with developing literary skills and creative expression with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders since November 2017 at our school, Peter Hobart Elementary, in St. Louis Park. On National African American Parent Involvement Day, Joe and his group highlighted our school's kick-off celebration of Black History Month by performing for our entire school and families from our community. They kept everyone singing, dancing, and hand waving with a performance that engaged the youngest to the oldest!
Cam Muata | Racial Equity Instructional Coach | Peter Hobart Elementary
Joe Davis was an incredible asset to our work as a Black heritage camp. His willingness to tell his own story through poetry empowered campers and inspired vulnerability. Teachers were overjoyed at his ability to engage all personalities. Many participants have requested that Joe Davis join us again in the future. As the event leader, I can testify that Joe was an amazing teammate to work with. I'm grateful for his willingness to catch our vision and bring in his own creativity. I look forward to working with Joe again soon!
Arielle Grant | Education Specialist | UMOJA MN
We were so lucky to have Joe in our school district this past weekend. He was the featured speaker at assemblies at our high school, mid high, and middle school -- and in all three places he made meaningful connections with students, gave an inspiring message to the school, and was fantastic to work with in setting up plans. His commitment to justice, storytelling and authenticity coupled with his amazing artistry as a poet and musician makes him a dynamic leader and mentor for young people. We were so grateful for our time with him.
Annemarie Russell | Educator | Lake Stevens High School
Mr. Joe Davis brings a clean and crisp voice of hope and healing, plus a sense of humor and great dance moves. Through spoken word and questions, he invites all ages to look at our own stories, roles, and interconnected parts in the complicated system we call community.
Heidi Ferris | Environmental Educator | Growing Green Hearts
Joe blessed our congregation by preaching in worship and leading the weekly forum. What a gift! Joe jumps in smoothly and with a contagious spirit that makes brave space real. Thanks, Joe, for witnessing so clearly to the Gospel, for sharing your poetry, and for graciously inviting us to practice this life of faith...so needed, so necessary.
Reverend Jen Nagel | Lead Pastor | University Lutheran Church of Hope
Joe Davis is a gem! He captured our students' attention while drawing them into the magic of poetry. His enthusiasm is infectious and motivates individuals around him. You are bound to not only write a poem or two in his session, but feel moved to write so you can experience the joy he so clearly illustrates by sharing his passion. Too often people hide parts of themselves in fear of judgment or ridicule, but Joe models the importance of celebrating yourself, your passion, your insight, and embracing them to share with others. Now that is a message we all could stand to hear a little more of.
Bridget Ryberg | English Educator | Central High School
Joe Davis and friends (The Poetic Diaspora) put on an incredible event for area confirmation students. The underlying theme of love was exactly what every youth needs to hear time and time again and what better way to reinforce it than through Joe's unique "edutainment embodiment experience". Joe and his whole team were delightful to work with from start to finish and I can't wait to creatively collaborate with them some time in the future.
Billie Jo Wicks | Director of Youth Ministries | Christ the King Church
Joe Davis combines artistic joy, deep kindness, and ethical passion in a way I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. In his visit to my seminary’s writing event, he engaged easily with younger people, but he also – and perhaps more impressively – heard and encouraged the older, small-town, midwestern writers who attend our event. Joe is stylish, we are not, and he loved us anyway. So: Joe is a riveting performer, and his artistic insights and flair inspired our crowd. Still, what sticks with me is the kindness with which he treated even the most unglamorous people who crossed his path. His art reflects his heart.
Ben Brazil | Director of the Ministry of Writing Program | Earlham School of Religion
Joe was kind enough to do an interview with us for our show Art Beat. His passion for his work comes through in everything he says. Through my interview with him he inspired me to participate in his writing workshop and I had such a great time! He provided such a relaxed atmosphere it felt like the whole room was inspired. Keep fanning those flames of creativity Joe! Thank you!
Bill Stoneberg | Program Coordinator for KQAL at WSU | KQAL
I appreciate the way Joe Davis engaged with youth and adults, and the thoughtful dialogues he sparked and joined. I also want to express that it was instructive, helpful, and heartwarming to witness his absolute integrity. This was obvious to me not only in how he performed the necessary functions of the weekend, but in letting himself show up in his vulnerability and the way he sought out connections from start to finish.
Rev. Eric G. Wolf | Assistant to the Bishop | South Carolina ELCA Synod
Joe Davis is a multiple talent. The show he produced was a quality presentation that paid tribute to the immensity of black musical culture. He had enough meaningful talent for four shows but he created one. A show with feeling and meaning created by a diverse group of talented artists, any of which could have been the star on their own. Bottom line, he cared about the performers and audience both. That care and attention to detail came across making one special evening. This promises a bright future for the artists he presented, the audiences he entertained, and Joe Davis, himself.
John Ellis | Unemployment Analyst | Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Joe Davis is not just a poet, artist, or social entrepreneur. He is a transformational agent creating opportunities for people to look deeply into their souls and then, inspired by his work and message, to take action on behalf of a world that works for all. Joe is a rare being that, by his living example, allows us the courage to access our highest purpose.
Craig Neal | Co-Founder | Center for Purposeful Leadership
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