Meet Joah Spearman

Joah Spearman represents a much-needed breath of fresh air for City Council, District 9, at a critical inflection point in Austin’s history.

A trailblazing startup founder and CEO, philanthropist and board member, community activist, and outspoken author, Joah has demonstrated a lifetime of engagement and commitment to addressing the most pressing issues in D9. These pressing issues today include equity, affordability, transit, and Austin’s housing crisis; creativity and the mounting pressures on musicians, small business owners, and service industry professionals; and inclusivity, as the city’s Black, Hispanic, working and middle-class residents struggle to hold onto the quality of life that has made Austin special for decades.

Joah has been a resident of District 9 for nearly two decades.

A first-generation college graduate, entrepreneur, and nonprofit champion, Joah believes the 2020s represent a rare opportunity for Austin to set a course for decades to come.

Early Life & Moving to Austin
Joah Spearman was born and raised as the youngest of three boys in Central Texas by a hardworking single mother. He started his first business—cutting grass for neighbors—at 11 years old Joah first visited Austin as a Killeen High School student in the late ‘90s for track and cross country meets. Joah fell in love with Austin through its storied live music and fitness scenes, centered around the Lady Bird Hike & Bike Trail and Downtown where music venues like La Zona Rosa and Austin Music Hall were old favorites.

Joah won the National March of Dimes Scholarship for his volunteer service, enabling him to become the first in his family to graduate from college. A few years after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Joah set his sights on entrepreneurship and civic engagement. He was appointed to the Austin Music Commission, serving as its vice-chair and its appointee to the Downtown Commission, where they designated Red River Street a Cultural District and updated the city’s sound ordinance.

After launching a social media agency with clients such as FedEx, Deep Eddy Vodka and Lustre Pearl and, later, opening an innovative, community-centric sneaker boutique at City Hall called Sneak Attack, Joah founded and led the first-ever fashion components of South by Southwest Festival and ESPN X Games. In 2011, he was recruited by the founder and senior executives of fast-growing Austin startup Bazaarvoice to join as their director of operations ahead of their 2012 I.P.O.

Spearman is a four-time finalist for the Austin Under 40 awards, has been recognized as the Emerging Business Leader of the Year in 2013 by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and, in 2014, was named a Top 10 Black Innovator in Tech by Movement 50.

Spearman is a four-time finalist for the Austin Under 40 awards, has been recognized as the Emerging Business Leader of the Year in 2013 by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and, in 2014, was named a Top 10 Black Innovator in Tech by Movement 50.

Non-Profit Servent
A nonprofit advocate since his high school days with the March of Dimes and college years co-founded a charity event for Dell Children’s, Joah joined the board of directors for AIDS Services of Austin. In his eight years of service, he co-chaired its 35th-anniversary celebration, the largest non-AIDS Walk fundraiser in ASA history, ultimately becoming Board Chair where he helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the leading HIV/AIDS organization in Central Texas.

He has served two terms on the board of directors for Austin PBS, on both the Executive Committe and as co-chair of its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Committee.

He is currently in his second term on the board of directors for ZACH Theatre, where he chairs the Membership Committee and has led its diversity and inclusion efforts.

Fundraiser & Advocate
Joah has helped raise thousands for Austin Justice Coalition and other nonprofits ranging from E4Youth, a Black-led youth development organization, to “I Live Here, I Give Here,” where he co-hosted its 2021 event, which raised over $11 million. He helped vaccinate austinites.

Joah helped vaccinate over 20,000 Austinites. Pictured here with Travis County Judge Andy Brown

Personal Life
His wife, Angélica Rahe, is a gifted musician and artist who has toured with Lana Del Rey and worked with Adrian Quesada of Black Pumas. They live in Old West Austin.

His oldest brother, Kahron, is a writer for numerous outlets, including The Austin Chronicle, and is a music-show host on radio station KAZI.

When Joah isn’t running on the trail—his personal best is a 3 hour, 14-minute marathon—you can likely find him at a live music venue, attending a show at ZACH Theatre, or introducing friends to a local restaurant or business. He is eager to serve.

Joah and his wife, artist Angelica Rahe, at a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign

Photo Gallery

See Joah Spearman for D9’s campaign finance reports

& Credentials

Grew up youngest of 3 boys in single-mom household

Recipient of National March of Dimes Scholarship

First-generation college graduate (UT, 2005)

Husband of Austin musician, Angélica Rahe

Co-author of "Real Role Models" (Univ. of Texas Press)

Helped 20,000+ Austinites get COVID-19 vaccines

Helped designate Red River as a "Cultural District"

Board member & Membership Chair for ZACH Theatre

Former board chair of AIDS Services of Austin

Former vice chair of Austin Music Commission

Former board member of Austin PBS (KLRU)

Four-time finalist for Austin Under 40 Awards

Mentor to Austin startup founders, Capital Factory

Emerging Business Leader of the Year, Greater Austin Black Chamber

Pol. adv. pd. by Joah Spearman Campaign. This campaign has not agreed to comply with the contribution and expenditure limits of the Austin Fair Campaign Ordinance.