Greetings, My name is Joei Alexander Jordan, but many people know me by my stage name, “Joei Average.” I was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 16, 1993. My mother struggled with drug abuse until I was 11, and my biological father was incarcerated for the majority of my adolescence. He recently was released from federal prison. He has spent 26 years in prison. On the other hand, my mother has been clean and sober for 17 years. 

I was a semi-normal kid. My mother moved my brother, myself and my sister to Sumter, South Carolina, when I was 11. I was raised in the rural south. It was different, but it is where I call home. 

When it comes to the topic of school, on one end I knew I was very smart, bright and capable. On the other end, I liked being the class clown. Being silly and joking. Being the center of attention. I was often reprimanded for my behavior. 

When I was a child, my mother made a terrible parenting decision, in my opinion. She allowed a doctor to prescribe me Adderall because of teachers’ complaints. I’m not saying I was not a lot. I’m simply saying that you have to find creative ways to channel this extra energy a child has. Not sedate the child. I was diagnosed with ADHD, and I had been on Adderall and Ritalin since I was 7. I admit it allowed me to focus more, but it also was my gateway to smoking weed. 

I smoked weed for the first time when I was 14. Absolutely loved it. Everyone smokes weed now, it seems, but at that time it was still frowned upon. Weed, one must admit, helped my self destruction. Let me reiterate: I was not a delinquent. I just liked to have fun, and like every kid ages 14-19, I thought I knew everything. As a young Black boy, I was doing what I call “moving too fast.” But you live, and you learn. 

After I graduated high school, I was accepted into a beautiful HBCU, South Carolina State University. I intended to major in theatre and minor in business. College was amazing and an experience I will never forget. I learned quickly that I was not disciplined enough, and honestly, I was tired of school. In hindsight, I should have taken a year off. Nobody explains to you that your first year of college is just a repeat of 12th grade. I grew bored with math, science and history. I was more concerned with women, weed and parties. Parties? Why, thanks 

for asking. 

I have been dancing since I was about 3 years old. My mother put me in ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop classes when I was very young. I loved dancing. I joined step teams, signed up for any talent show I could just to expose my talent and hear people calling my name. Honestly the high I got from performing was better than the weed high. It was a different type of euphoria. 

I left SCSU after one year and moved back home. I felt like a bum for failing out of school. Especially once I figured out that all I had to do was show up to class to get a D average. As I said, you live and you learn. 

I got a second chance to attend college at the University of South Carolina Sumter. This time I told myself, “Joei, just go to class,” and I did. I was doing great. Then I made a mistake: I started being an ungrateful 19 year old. 

I couldn’t see how blessed I was. I had two jobs, a car, a great girlfriend. I was teaching dance to kids at my church, and my life was all right. But I couldn’t function sober. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t focus, couldn’t be happy unless I was high. I became fed up with doing the right things. Living back at home made me feel like a failure. On top of that, I began feuding with my mother and my stepfather. Everything seems 30 major when you’re that young. You’re sensitive, energetic, horny, eager. One wants the world, but you don’t even know your right from your left. At Least I didn’t. 

So I left home. I ended up in Michigan, in the basement of a fraternity house on the campus of U of M with two other individuals. We had committed other home invasions. Unbeknownst to me, my codefendant had a gun. As we were entering the rooms of the house we entered, once we discovered it was occupied, but only after entering and closing the door. 

I froze in the pitch black of the room as I watched a shadow figure rise from the bed and walk toward the door. The problem was, my co defendant was standing between the man and the door. The next thing I heard… BANG! I ran out of the room, out of the house, and kept running and running until I was completely out of breath. Once my codefendants caught up, I asked why he did it. He was in a panic and breathing heavily, repeating, “I didn’t mean to.” I was shaken. After that day, I was smoking weed to numb, but I couldn’t get high any more. Nothing could numb the thoughts. The fear. The worry. 

I went back home after this and picked up my life where I left off. This was August 2013. I was arrested November 4, 2013, and charged with first-degree felony murder, first degree home invasion and conspiracy to commit home invasion. I was sentenced to life without parole on March 11, 2015 after a seven-day jury trial. 

Since being incarcerated I have written a memoir titled “Wich an I.” I would love to send it to you all. I have recorded and released two albums featuring other lifers, specifically those charged with felony murder as aiders and abettors. “Stupelligence,” by Dave Dibiase and Joei Average, is available everywhere you stream and buy music. I even got it on Jpay. 

“Far From Average” by Joei Average is also available everywhere you stream and listen to music. I have been clean and sober for 4 years. I have replaced those habits with that of reading, writing and I have recently started writing screenplays. I am working on a TV series called “The Bros.” With the distribution deal I acquired, I have started a record label that exposes prison talent. Showing the world this talent we have behind the walls. This is the list of artists we have released: Ruler Rell, ASI Scarfo, LTL, Roc Legend, Eot Savage, Dave Dibiase, 24 BH. Most of these guys are serving life or long sentences. 

I have learned that prison is a stepping groyo and that time is just space waiting to be filled.