Tef Poe is a rapper, musician, and activist from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a cofounder of Hands Up United in nearby Ferguson. In his art and activism, he insists on the value of local people taking charge of conversations about their communities rather than relying on national organizations. He has consistently advocated for grassroots movements in racial justice inside and outside the United States.
As an activist, Poe has traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, testifying at the United Nations on behalf of the Ferguson protesters. In 2015, he traveled to Palestine as a member of the historic Dream Defenders delegation. He also was invited to the White House by President Barack Obama to discuss strategy regarding demilitarizing the police during the Ferguson unrest.
In 2016–2017, Poe was a fellow at Harvard University via the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. This academic year, he is the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at Harvard University’s prestigious W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute.
As an artist, Poe has performed with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T., Lupe Fiasco, and Dead Prez. His most recent album Black Julian 2: Never Satisfied, narrated by Cornel West, was released December 2017.