Joshua L. Lazard is a writer, ordained minister and public intellectual, who offers engaging social and theological commentary that provides a provocative cultural critical awareness.  This allows him the opportunity to preach and teach in numerous educational and ecclesiastical spaces.

A Chicago South Side native, Joshua is a graduate of Fisk University with a B.S. in Accounting after attending Dillard University in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina.  He went on to graduate from the Johnson C. Smith Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Church Music with a thesis entitled “The Effectiveness of Music and the Role of Preaching in the Black Church.”

While in seminary, he discovered his penchant and love for writing and launched his blog in 2007 as an armchair cultural critic.  When social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram emerged, he operated under the well-known moniker The Uppity Negro as he is still known in social media networks.  Through his blog and other online social networks, Joshua engages conversations around modern-day faith traditions, American contemporary religious life as well as black religious thought, African American culture and politics in the age of the Obama presidency.  Other writings by Joshua have been featured at Religion Dispatches.

Currently, Joshua serves as the first C. Eric Lincoln Minister for Student Engagement at Duke University Chapel.

He resides in Durham, North Carolina.


25 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Joshua,
    You evidently are planning to be a preacher. Make sure you have God’s message and that He sent you.

    Education is good, but knowing God personally is better.
    I urge you to concentrate on knowing HIM through His Word.

    I don’t think you really want ” a horrible mouth”. Jesus was harsh with the hypocritical religious leaders of his day who were were leading people to hell with their lies; but gentle with hungry-hearted sinners wanting to be right with God.
    Matthew 11:28-30

    I encourage you to go to my web site
    http://www.alamedabiblechurch.com and spend some time in
    HIDDEN TREASURES with your Bible and feed your soul.

    Make sure you are sent of God and have HIs message.
    Jeremiah 14:13-ff. If you are going to be a preacher, be a man of THE BOOK. Seek God for His message.

    I am a 75 year old white preacher having pastored for over 50 years. Still at it. I pray that God will give you the preparation He has for you and make you a man of God who preaches the Gospel of Christ. Joshua, God can use you mightly if you are humble and broken before Him.

    I will be praying for you.
    Your friend,
    Mal Bicker

  2. *done* @ vicissitudes… Oh, and I just came in from church. I can’t… I can’t…

    Best to you, Black Man.

    Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

    m dot


  3. just read a couple of your posts and am pleasently surprised that you are in fact a black man or at least you have pictures attempting to disprove my theory that you were a white man attempting to DISTORT the minds of countless CONSCIOUS black intellectuals!
    pretty cute by the way 😉

  4. thanks for your words – very cool – and I like the strong voice and opinion – maybe interested in what I wrote on this evenings DNC commentary on Michelle Obama – “Michelle Obama “…needs to be less Jackée and more Jackie O.” – Byron Pitts, CBS” – see my blog (pardon the sprinkling of cussing – I don’t include that in my job offer letters either…lol)


  5. Dear Brother Future Preacher J.L. Lazard-

    Let me first remark that you have a wonderful Intertube interblog here. I don’t see that you’ve won any Awards, but I’m sure they’ll be a coming any day so long as you keep Praying and Trying.

    I found your Intertube interblog upon asking the intergoogle the following question, “Is the term “uppity” a racially charged pejorative when used in the context of a certain Democratic Negro presidential candidate who also happens to be Muslim?”

    for example, see

    Thank you in advance for your response
    Award winning interblogger
    (multiple categories)

  6. I have read your post form time to time. Some of them make me laugh, but all of them make me THINK!!!
    You will make an interesting minister. However, please be real . We have enough people who are no more than eloquent, dressed up pimps tricking the masses.

  7. @crystal

    Thanks for making a comment that takes many of my posts and synthesizes them. Often times people don’t recognize my train of thought throughout the last year of my blogs.

  8. The Negro has grounded his belief in Christianity in an ethical code, the principles of which are not founded in an enduring faith and therefore devoid of content and the refreshment of a critical dimension. The principles he esteems are not relevant to his contemporary needs. Thus the Negro is forced to depend upon civil rights, religious feeling, sentiment, and color as substitutes for faith. It is the absence of historical loyalty to the Christian faith which expresses itself as religious sentiment. This feeling for religion is not inherent but nurtured, and to make virtue of necessity does not justify the title of Christian faith.

  9. @ HJ Ross

    I think to ultimately dismiss African American heritage and affinity to Christianity as “not inherent but nurtured” is to negate the fact and reality that Africans prior to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade were in fact highly spiritual people. Moreover it also denies the genius that enslaved Africans re-interpreted Christianity to fit their own needs for liberation.

    Perhaps now the problem is the Black Church’s failure to address more contemporary needs.

  10. Came here via google hit for review of Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans

    Appreciate your review and am bookmarking your blog.


  11. President Obama’s Speech to School Children whose administrators and parent allow them to hear it.
    September 7, 2009

    The president’s speech will be delivered tomorrow to American school children (K-12). It works for ‘children of all ages.’


    Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

    I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

    I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

    Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

    So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

    Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility. I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn. I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox. I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

    But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

    And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

    Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

    And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

    And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

    You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

    We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

    Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

    I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

    So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

    Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

    But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

    Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

    Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

    I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

    And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

    Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

    That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

    Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

    But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

    That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

    These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
    And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

    The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

    So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

    Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

    Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

  12. Hopefully one day you will become a Secular Humanist in addiction to being an intellectual. =)

    Christianity is a plague upon the minds of men of all colors. It is illogical and unsupported by evidence, as supernatural beliefs always are. Although the Black community is free from physical bondage, remnants of the religion that eased the minds of slave-owners and which was used to brainwash slaves from the cradle to the grave still persists in our society.

    Just my thoughts, and I wish you reason and critical thinking on your (hopefully) never-ending quest for knowledge.

    Have an enlightened day!

  13. I accidently ran across this page and I am glad I did (though, as a person of faith, I don’t really believe in coincidence). Your passion and your thoughtful ananysis encourages me. Keep the faith, not only in God, but in the humanity that God loves. And keep asking the questions and challenging misguided assumptions that have made too many of us look and sound like idiots when the light of truth finally breaks through the walls we have created.

  14. I just want to know how you think you are advancing the black community when you are still referring to yourself and other black americans as uppity negroes? It’s hypocritical and ignorant in my opinion. And your just making successful African-Americans look stupid because while you think the term “uppity” signifies success, your still demeaning us in the process because both “uppity” and “negro” are derogatory terms. You should have thought about that when you made this blog. I don’t care how old it is.

    1. Who are you to be offended by an artist’s choice of words in his blog? There is nothing ignorant nor hippocritical about his choice of name. Perhaps he chose the name as an attention grabber? In any event, his efforts have been successful . He captured our attention, at least long enough for you and I to pin our two cents in his “comment” section! March forward Uppity Negro! Send out your voice.

  15. Thanks Joshua. Pleased to have found your forthright, intelligent blog. Looking forward to much illuminating reading. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel!)

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