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Named "Top 30, under 30" by DC’s 93.9 WKYS FM, "Living Legend" by the LadyDiva Corp., and an Innovator by the University of Chicago and Harvard Divinity School, Native Washingtonian Rev. Dr. Alisha Lola Jones, is a voice charming the nation in message and music, as she re-teaches our communities their loveliness. An ethnomusicological thought- leader and Highest & Best Life Strategist, she innovatively consults leaders and organizations on how to find their rhythm and achieve their maximum potential. Dr. Jones’ multiple interests have coalesced into the establishment of InSight Initiative, Inc. to produce concerts and empowerment events specializing in low income, high minority neighborhood programming. 


Alisha Lola Jones, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dr. Jones is a graduate of University of Chicago (Ph.D.), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.), Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) and Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.). Dr. Jones' is a council member of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s (SEM) council and the co-chair of the Music and Religion section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Additionally, as a performer-scholar, she consults seminaries and arts organizations on curriculum, programming, and content development. 

Dr. Jones’ forthcoming book Flaming: The Peculiar Theo-Politics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance breaks ground by analyzing the role of gospel music making in constructing and renegotiating gender identity among black men. Dr. Jones' research interests include musical masculinities, gastromusicology, global pop music, future studies, ecomusicology, music and theology, the music industry, musics of the African diaspora and emerging research on music and future foodways in conjunction with The Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley, CA. 

In spring 2016, she received a College of Arts and Humanities Institute (CAHI) grant to expand upon research on music of the African diaspora to the Pacific islands, focusing on Pacific African Americans' musical responses to the #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName movements in the United States territory of Guam. Among her lectureships at schools of music, seminaries, and churches this year, Dr. Jones is slated to train interfaith leaders on the merits of music and wellness at the United Nations. 

Among the awards Dr. Jones received this year, she was named an innovator in community organization by the Harvard Divinity School (December 2016); she was inducted into the esteemed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College (March 2017); and the University of Chicago Divinity School recognized her with an award for her contributions to womanist religious research and public engagement (April 2017). 

Dr. Jones has received academic acclaim and support for her research with fellowships from Andrew W. Mellon; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality; Martin Marty Center; and the Franke Institute for the Humanities, among others. As a performer-scholar, Dr. Jones has lectured on her research throughout the world at institutions such as Oxford University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Yale University, Hampton Ministers Conference and Musicians Guild, Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, Spelman College, Howard University, Boston University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) 

Her writings on African American religious music, gender and sexuality in ethnomusicological research appear in various publications. She has been featured in Liner Notes magazine, The Afro-American newspaper, Black,,, and She is a contributing writer for HEED magazine and



Training theologians and researchers to turn their research and faith into innovative entrepreneurship, Dr. Jones is an inaugural thought-leader for the Forum for Theological Exploration’s entrepreneurship incubator. Dr. Jones has unveiled her award winning Genius For Men Conference (GFM). GFM is a men’s empowerment conference that celebrates community between men and women, male achievement, and transcendence within one’s profession. Also, Dr. Jones has founded Move And Shake Women: Academic Women Connecting in the Journey. With the support of a University of Chicago GSA Innovation Grant Move and Shake focuses on training high achieving women in work-life balance. In addition, Dr. Jones has served on the board of several faith-based and arts focused organizations such as the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) and the Black Gents of Hollywood. 


A seasoned cultural ambassador as an emerging operatic soprano, Dr. Jones has also had the distinct honor of performing throughout the world and with many luminaries in events and venues such as Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center Honors and The Washington National Opera at Constitution Hall, the observance of the United Nation’s Day of Peace at Carnegie Hall in New York, The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, The Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and at the Centro Studi Italiani in Urbania, Italy. 


A fourth-generation, ordained, itinerant preacher, Rev. Dr. Jones has preached internationally and has spoken before organizations such as the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) on tapping into their genius. She has spoken alongside notables such as Professor Sonia Sanchez, Dr. Dorothy Height, Judith Jamison, and Attorney Star Jones. She has worked for ministries in Connecticut, Chicago, IL, and is an associate pastor at International Kingdom Church in Bowie, MD, where Rev. Dr. Martha Jones is senior pastor. 

 Awards Highlights

Dr. Alisha Lola Jones recently completed doctoral research at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation research focuses on black men's performance of gender and sexuality in gospel music. She is a graduate of Yale Divinity School (M.Div), Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.).

​Dr. Jones' research interests include Musical Masculinities, Music and Theology, Business and the Music Industry, Music and Mysticism, Western Art Music, International Vocal Pedagogies, and African-American Musics.

Dr. Jones is a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), American Academy of Religion (AAR), American Men's Studies Association (AMSA), The Grammys, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion (SSBR).

2013 - 2014 University of Chicago, GSA Innovation Grant Recipient

2013 - 2014 Martin Marty Junior Fellow 

2013 - 2014 Mellon Dissertation Fellow

2013 - 2014 Tave Teaching Fellow 

2013 - 2014 Joint Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (CSRPC-CSGS) Residential Fellow,

2014 National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) Emerging Diversity Scholar

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“The Society for Ethnomusicology and the Archives of African American Music and Culture is housed here. There are a lot of highly esteemed scholars who have come through the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. They have made great contributions to the body of literature in ethnomusicology, and I’m excited to be able to work alongside these towering figures as a faculty member,” Jones said. “Indiana is a Research I institution, and the beauty of teaching here is that I can put my scholarship out there to engage with students on the ideas I’m wrestling with in strategic public sector engagement.” 



Walk into one of Alisha Jones’s classes on any given day and you might hear the IU Bloomington assistant professor telling her students about the social issues of gospel musicians living with AIDS; discussing the intersection of sexuality and African-American pop culture; strategizing about public arts education in low-income, high-minority neighborhoods; or even introducing herself through rap (“Well my name is Dr. Jones and I’m a fly girl/It takes opera to rock my world”). 

Jones, now entering her second academic year in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology within the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was drawn to IU because of the program’s leadership in the field.


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