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Tef Poe

Tef Poe was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Poe is one of the co-founders of Hands Up United, founded in Ferguson after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. He was in the streets of Ferguson for more than 300 days and travelled to Geneva with Brown’s parents to testify at the United Nations. In 2017, Poe was selected as the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellow at Harvard. Every year, he teaches a class entitled, “God and Tupac,” at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver with co-instructor Dr. Jennifer S. Leath. As a hip-hop artist, Poe has performed on billings with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, Yasin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Killer Mike and many more. His most recent album, “Black Julian 2” is narrated by Dr. Cornel West. Poe recently signed to Tommy Boy Records and was selected to serve as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador to the country of Jordan in 2019. Poe is currently working on his first album with Tommy Boy and finishing his memoir, Rebel to America.  

walter tef 3

Harvard professor Walter Johnson and rapper Tef Poe reflect on their shared activism, and the place they see for allies—accomplices, even—in the long struggle for racial justice.

Tef Poe Mordecai Lyon Walter Johnson