Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James Ivy Richardson III  

Pen Name: J. Ivy

Genre: Non-Fiction Poetry

Born: 1976 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Richardson was born in Chicago and grew up on Chicago’s South side until the age of 14 before moving to the South suburbs, where he attended Rich Central High School. After attending Illinois State University in Normal, he returned to Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

James Ivy Richardson III is the hip-hop poet, musician, actor, and speaker known as J. Ivy. He received a Peabody Award for his performance on Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry, as well as a Grammy Award for his contribution with Jay-Z on Kanye West’s ''The College Dropout'' album. Richardson has also collaborated with John Legend, RZA, The Last Poets, The Roots, Common, Mos Def, The Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, and many more. He supports his community through his ''Write to Live Academy'' and the ''Dear Father Initiative'', which encourages young people to explore careers in the arts.His book ''Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain'', is his inspirational memoir about the pain of losing his father while growing up in the neighborhoods of Chicago's South Side. The cycle of pain was transformed into self-empowerment through poetry, music and forgiveness.

Published Works Expand for more information

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