“Mr. Ratliff [Gesu's music teacher] always said, ‘Keep a song in your heart.’ I did. And here I am.” –Jovon Newman, Class of 2005
Jovon “J” Newman clearly had a song in his heart on February 28th when he and Quintin “Q” Richardson— together known as JQ—performed at Gesu School as part of their Follow the Dream tour. The American R&B/Pop duo are men on a mission.
After discovering each other at a University of Delaware talent show audition in 2009, Newman and Richardson joined forces on a number of initiatives, including the release of their debut album “Anticipation.” But it was Richardson’s high school principal who helped them discover their purpose.
The school’s head invited Richardson back to counsel a student who was losing hope. The student had missed so many days of school that he would fail out with just one more absence. Richardson agreed to help, and since his intervention the student hasn’t missed a single day of school. The principal encouraged Richardson to help more students.
So JQ decided take their music — and a message— on the road. The goal of their tour is to “let the kids know how important it is to follow your dreams and to stay in school.” Their first stop was Richardson’s high school. Their second was Gesu School.
The two musicians hope to turn their motivational performance into full-time careers after they graduate from the University of Delaware in more two semesters. If the resounding approval they received from Gesu’s students is any indication, JQ is poised for success.
After JQ’s sensational performance, Gesu students lined up for autographs. Before obliging his adoring new fans, Newman delivered CDs and hugs to principal Sr. Ellen Convey and his old teachers.
“It feels really good to give back,” stated Newman, who also noted that “Mr. Ratliff is the one who actually got me singing.”
As a student at Middletown High School in Delaware, Newman made All-State Chorus and landed the school’s first African-American lead in the musical Copacabana. He says Mr. Ratliff prepared him for his future by showing him what lots of practice looks like.
Newman wasn’t the first—or last—member of his family to get his start at Gesu School. His brother Paris ’97 went on to graduate from Trinity College in 2006. Brother Hoskins ‘10 heads to Albright College in the fall to major in criminology. And sister Ashley ‘14 will graduate from Gesu School this spring.
Thank you to all Gesu’s supporters for bringing programs like music and art to North Philadelphia! You helped make this story of success a reality.
Q and J sign autographs for their adoring new fans.
Family members Hoskins '10, Ashley '14, Jovon '05, and [not picutred] Paris '97 all got their starts at Gesu School.
“JQ is an American R&B/Pop duo consisting of members Jovon ‘J’ Newman and Quintin ‘Q’ Richardson from Delaware. The duo, in their 20’s, has been featured on local radio stations, newspaper articles, and performed around the Tri-State area. JQ’s sound is inspired by Boyz II Men, K-Ci & JoJo, Usher, Chris Brown, and Ne-yo. After meeting at a local University’s talent show, JQ instantly found chemistry in their voices and writing styles. After collaborating on various solo and group efforts, they decided their talents were better showcased together. They then began work on their debut album “Anticipation” which is a collection of R&B, Pop, and Hip-Hop influenced tracks. JQ has gained recognition across the U.S. in areas including New York, L.A., and Philadelphia, but are grounded by their small town beginnings.” From www.facebook.com/JQRNB