Exclusively Represented by Seader Speakers Bureau
Y-Love (Yitz Jordan)
Hip Hop Activist
Follow Yitz on Twitter!
Yitz Jordan (Y-Love) is an award-winning inspirational hip-hop artist whose compelling personality and multilingual musical talents have received worldwide acclaim from New York to Ukraine. An Orthodox Jew for nine years, Yitz’s unique perspectives on Jewish identity and Black-Jewish relations have captivated minds at schools, theatres, and various houses of worship worldwide.
His unique musical style, blending holy tongues such as ancient Aramaic and Hebrew, Arabic, Yiddish and Latin over ethnic and futuristic urban beats, was called the “soundtrack to social progression” by URB Magazine, and XXL Magazine said that Y-Love “is making hip-hop kosher.” Yitz has graced stages with such luminaries as Lou Reed and Matisyahu since signing with Modular Moods Records in 2005, and his writing has been featured in print and online in forums from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to the Jerusalem Post.
Born in East Baltimore, Y-Love was raised by a single mother who earned less than $20,000 a year, in a neighborhood where drug addiction and hopelessness were rampant. In 2004, he lost his mother to cocaine and alcohol abuse, follwing a life peppered with family members in and out of rehabs and jails, while his Puerto Rican grandmother attempted to keep the family together.
His instinctive pull toward Judaism began at age 7, after seeing a commercial on television wishing Jewish viewers a “Happy Passover.” His grandmother had an affinity for all things Jewish as well – even celebrating for an entire day when Isaac Bashevis Singer won the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 – and encouraged her grandson’s interest. His observance continued through high school, where he prayed three times daily, but waned during his college years when he became involved in the Baltimore punk rock scene. It was during this time that Y-Love became involved in the anti-racist punk rock movements, which would provide the revolutionary force behind his yet-to-be-written hip-hop lyrics.
Losing his biological father at 15 and his stepfather at 21 to cancer, Y-Love learned to become self-reliant in the absence of the parental figures that so many take for granted. Enduring considerable racism during his initial transition to the Orthodox community, he was denied apartments for 11 months and was unable to find employment within the community until 2003, among other hardships. Anti-Semitism from the Black community would also impact his transition, as many of his former Baltimore neighbors treated him as persona non grata upon seeing his new traditional Orthodox style of dress, and the verbal insults would become quite common when he would visit his hometown.
After learning in Ohr Somayach yeshivas in Jerusalem and Monsey, NY, Y-Love had a brief, arranged marriage in the Hasidic tradition, which ended in 2003. This would begin a period of tragedy in Y-Love’s life, where he would lose an average of one friend every six weeks due to drug-related causes.
Despite the hardships he has faced, his faith has remained unshaken. Y-Love uses his newfound strength to help heal others with a message of self-empowerment through faith and music. In addition, he brings strong, powerful tidings of peace, love, and acceptance of all - regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
Y-Love is currently touring the globe to promote his new EP, Change.