2024 Grammy Winner J. Ivy Is Inspiring a Generations of Poets

J Ivy, winner of the 2024 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album, is seen as a pioneer in his craft. Read on to learn more about this amazing entertainer!

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J. Ivy speaking into microphone with Grammy award to the side

J. Ivy has now won two Grammys for Best Spoken Word Album. Described as the “first of his kind,” he is inspiring a more expressive generation. Read on to hear his story.

J. Ivy was the first-ever Grammy winner for the Best Spoken Word Album category. This was in 2023, the first year the category transpired — after he helped create it. At the 2024 Grammys, J. Ivy scored again, this time for his new album called The Light Inside. This category recognizes poetic excellence within musical and non-musical spoken word. On top of these accomplishments, these wins make him the first poet to receive a Grammy since the renowned Dr. Maya Angelou. This amazing, award-winning streak does not come without great courage, though. He has been described as the “first of his kind” and is changing the direction of performance poetry and modern poetry as a whole. 

J. Ivy on the Grammy stage accepting an award in a white satin suit
IMAGE VIA RECORDING ACADEMY / GRAMMYS

Where Music and Literature Became One

“Truly, when it comes to the art of Hip-Hop Poetry, J. Ivy is the 1st of his kind. He is a pioneer, a trendsetter, one who has knocked down impossible doors” 

  J-Ivy.com

James Richardson Ivy II (J.Ivy) was born on March 3, 1976, to a nurse and radio show host. He grew up in Chicago’s Southside for much of his childhood before his family moved. At his new place of residence, he attended Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields, Illinois. It was here he was forced to present to his peers a poetry piece he wrote. On that stage, he fell in love with poetry.

He continued writing and performing in college. After gaining the title of “the Poet” on campus at Illinois State University, James became the host of Chicago’s largest poetry night at the time called “Rituals.” Shortly after, he was invited to Russel Simmon’s HBO Def Poetry Jam. He received major buzz from this from big names like Kanye West and Jay-Z.  He went on to work with them and other artists who were enthralled by how he could combine beautiful prose with music. That was only the beginning. Now, he is a GRAMMY®, Peabody, Clio, Telly, and NAACP Image Award Winning Poet and Artist.

His Life Motto

What seems like a quick story to success is dissected in his written word. He explores his struggles with his family and personal identity, especially in his new memoir called Dear Father. Though he had his mother’s encouragement, his path was set in stone by his own hands. Guiding his way was a big personality that would not settle for anything less than greatness. His grit and confidence are exemplified in his motivational motto: “Dreams Don’t Come True; they Are True.” This courage and profound sense of hope is undeniably evident in his work, as he recalls his life experiences amidst his writing. 

Inspiring a Generation Who Speaks Up

J. Ivy is one of a kind and is an admirable celebrity from multiple perspectives. His motivational speech at the 2024 Grammys alone shows why is deserving of such acclaim:

“I want this moment to be a beautiful reminder of how important poetry is. In a time where the freedoms are under threat, where voices, where voices are silenced, where souls are suffocated by the audacity of power, poetry has a unique and profound ability to lift the spirits of the people. So as I lift this stature, may not only be a toast to the poets but a resounding alarm to wake up the spirit. Let’s find peace, let’s find love, let the poetry in our hearts whisper sweet lullabies that will rock our hurt to sleep and wake up the true essence of who we are. Love. Light. We have suffered long enough. The world needs more poets.”

J.Ivy

The world needs more of J. Ivy. Words like these are inspiring a generation that pushes boundaries and speaks with vivacious confidence. His aspiration for change in the entertainment industry, social activism, astounding courage, and remarkable ability to motivate is why he is the one who is following suit to the great Maya Angelou. 


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