During Pride Month, we are taking the opportunity to celebrate some of the many incredible queer artists that we know and love. Our next artist is author Jasmine Mans!
Jasmine Mans is an American poet from Newark (NJ). Graduating from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a B.A. in African American Studies, Jasmine released her debut poetry collection in 2012, when she was just 20 years old.
Chalk Outlines of Snow Angels, described on her website as a work that “creatively delivers a series of heartfelt and blood-boiling pieces that are filled with both religious and political undertones,” can be read as a series of stories told from the perspective of a young woman who is disillusioned with the world she’s grown up in.
Exploring a range of topics like hip hop, the USA government, and family dynamics, Chalk Outlines of Snow Angels is infused with a visceral honesty which does not shy away from violent imagery and scathing critiques, laying bare the emotional realities Jasmine has faced.
“The poems highlight the experiences of Black womanhood and emphasize how rooted Black women’s livelihood is in a system that erases their identity.”
Jasmine’s next poetry collection, Black Girl, Call Home, explores the intersecting identities of Blackness, queerness, and womanhood. FF2 contributor Joycelyn Ghansah describes: “The poems like ‘Speak to Me of My Mother,’ ‘Who She Was,’ ‘She doesn’t look like rape,’ and ‘I exchange body parts…,’ highlight the experiences of Black womanhood and emphasize how rooted Black women’s livelihood is in a system that erases their identity. Each poem explores Black women’s painful paths, especially those of queer Black women.”
In this collection, Jasmine experiments with form to create a layered and multifaceted presentation of her Black, queer, female identity; one poem, entitled “Mama Has a Hair Salon in the Kitchen,” is a list of the products, tools, and techniques needed to style a Black woman’s hair. Another poem, “We Host These Variables,” is one paragraph consisting of long sentences with no line breaks, in which she attempts to describe her mother so that the reader can know her. Ever-present in this collection is Jasmine’s raw honesty, with each poem as emotionally impactful as the last.
Aside from her published collections, Jasmine is also a spoken word poet. With pieces with titles like “Footnotes for Kanye,” “Birmingham,” and “No Malice: Where is Your Brother?” Jasmine delivers each word with both power and vulnerability, perfectly bringing to life the tone of all of her poems.
As a Black and lesbian woman, Jasmine has lived through a unique and difficult set of circumstances, yet it is in embracing her identity and creating art that boldly showcases herself to the world that Jasmine has developed such a powerful voice. During Pride Month and throughout the year, Jasmine is a huge inspiration to artists and to people with marginalized identities alike.
© Julia Lasker (6/9/2023) FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Learn more about Jasmine’s work and career here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured photo: Collage by Joycelyn Ghansah for FF2 Media.