By Nyesha Stone
He wanted to explore the galaxy to be closer to the stars because his mom said there were angels who were watching him, but who is this him and what happened to reaching the sky?
Well, he’s heading for the clouds, and beyond, but through his music and his advocacy work. His name is Joshua Jenkins and he’s a local rapper who’s paving a way to the stars for himself with his vernacular flows—Josh Jenkins is his artist name.
Around the ages five to seven, Jenkins attended Browning Elementary School where he was taught by a teacher named Mr. Williams on how to play the drum set and Djembe—an African drum. This was at the same time Jenkins began rapping.
Julius Jenkins, Jenkins’ father, has the music bug too. Julius plays the guitar, sings and raps, so it’s as if it was predestined for Jenkins to take the artistic route.
“He expected it, but he didn’t expect it,” said Jenkins.
Musical Julius cut off the tips of his fingers during an accident at work yet he continued to play the guitar. Julius didn’t give up, and, even now, he still plays the guitar beautifully, according to Jenkins.
Jenkins uses his father’s situation as inspiration because if Julius can keep going with music then so can he.
Just like any artist, Jenkins hopes his music takes him places he’s never seen before, but he knows that dreams can only be accomplished with hard work.
His freshman year of high school in 2011, Jenkins created a Hip Hop group named ADHD. It’s a three-man group that was established because him and the two other members: JalenG and G-Gifted were disappointed with Hip Hop at the time, so they used their music to change up the narrative.
Just because Jenkins is in a group that doesn’t mean he can’t release his own projects. Last month, Jenkins dropped his album entitled “Redemption.” It took two months to put together—he spent every Sunday making hits.
Redemption was inspired by a multitude of things: life situations, experiences with ADHD, losing people, and searching for validation from his father.
“It was definitely overdue,” he said. “Emotionally [and] physically it was needed.”
2017 has been a good year for Jenkins and he’s ending it off well. He recently was told he won a few awards, which haven’t been announced yet, and he has four to five shows booked in December.
With only 28 credits left, Jenkins will be receiving a degree in Television from MATC. Jenkins first choice was audio but he decided to choose something else since he already works with audio when making music. So, the next choice was broadcast since people have always told Jenkins he has a nice voice.
Jenkins is tired of the news perpetuating the same stereotypical ideas and narratives of people, especially the Black community, so he’s joining the news to change it up. He’s unsure of what he’s going to do with his degree, but most college students don’t.
While managing a music career and attaining a degree, Jenkins works for Community Advocates, an organization that helps low-income Milwaukeeans with basic needs. He’s been with the organization for two months as a community advocate for zip code 53206, even more specifically, he works for the alcohol and marijuana prevention for underage youth.
At the age of 20, Jenkins has his own cubical downtown. He’s constantly in meetings, visiting schools and making an impact on the youth.
“Youth usually don’t have an avenue to advertise their voice,” said Jenkins, which is why he’s in the position he’s in—now he can be a voice for the youth when they can’t do it themselves.
Jenkins always wanted to be an MC, but it wasn’t until he became aware of his history that he wanted to be an advocate for change.
Every day, whether through music, school or work, Jenkins is using his platform to improve the world.
“Chase your dreams and make a difference in your community,” said Jenkins.