Muskegon native Mr. Joe Walker has joined the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) writing team. His first article for the esteemed Nashville-based organization titled “A Full Force to be Reckoned With” is currently available at nmaam.org.
“It’s an incredible blessing to write for NMAAM,” Walker says. “To be associated in anyway with the remarkable names that will be forever showcased in its halls, it’s an honor too huge to even attempt to measure.”
Walker has similar feelings about multiplatinum-selling group Full Force, the reason he chose them as his first subject.
“Their accomplishments as recording artists is certainly remarkable, but what they’ve done and writers and producers impacted the entire music industry for decades,” he says. “Even with their dedicated episode of docu-series Unsung, there’s still a lot of people who really don’t know the extent of Full Force’s commercial value. I was very excited to share an informative story about them for NMAAM in my own unique way.”
Raised in Muskegon Heights and a graduate of Muskegon Senior High School, Walker’s writing career began in 1998 with TheGrooveSpot.com – a pioneering, award-nominated hip-hop website he co-created with fellow Muskegon native CJ Haynes that was also comprised of locals Nelson Hardiman, Mark Smith, Ben Smith, Corey Blackman, the late Joseph Kelley, and their associate Jamil Davis (Jamal STEELE) of Florida.
Walker got his first print writing job with Muskegon Tribune Newspaper in 2002. From 2003 to 2009 his work simultaneously appeared in the Tribune, Muskegon Chronicle, Grand Rapids Press, Kalamazoo Gazette, REVUE, The Jackson Citizen, Real Detroit Weekly, and Metrotimes among several others.
During this period Walker also worked as Editor In Chief for now defunct lifestyle magazine XPOZ where he wrote both multiplatinum-selling singer Keyshia Cole’s first ever cover story and multi-time WWE Champion John Cena’s only urban magazine cover story. In 2006 he served as lead writer and creative director for The Underwire, the first ever fully digital urban magazine.
“Those times were fun and crazy,” Walker remembers. “I was writing more than 300 articles, columns, reviews, and celebrity interviews a year! I’m compulsively creative as it is, but I was just so hungry to prove myself.”
In 2010 Walker’s effort would lead him to SoulTrain.com, the official website of Soul Train. He served as its senior writer until BET’s acquisition of the brand in April 2016. From there he joined forces with another fellow Muskegon native, celebrity photographer Doug Sims. The two ran arts and entertainment web property LiquidAE.com which achieved more than a million views a year for 3 consecutive years – 2016 to 2019.
August 2019 saw Walker’s own MrJoeWalker.com, a site used to publish his weekly acts-of-kindness column “Shining Example”, revamped by designer Eric McLain of Lansing into THISENT.com. The two along with their partner Alex Malone (Grand Kai Gaming) produce written and video content that includes 5 weekly columns, esports and gaming coverage, and celebrity interviews that are fun, educational, and inspirational.
Today, along with THISENT Walker is a writer and editor for MuskegonTribune.com while also writing for URBAN Magazine, Hood Illustrated Magazine, and Grander Magazine, annual host of charity event Project Cypher, and proud member of AOTA Creative. Joining the NMAAM writing team is a defining and poignant achievement.
“I’m wholeheartedly grateful for this opportunity,” Walker says. “I’m looking forward to telling stories that reflect the history and prestige that NMAAM was built for.”