Cristina Cala

Michelle Obama Is This Poet's Forever First Lady (And Ours)

Cristina Cala
Michelle Obama Is This Poet's Forever First Lady (And Ours)

Queer poet and spoken word artist Jasmine Mans is a potent and politically charged voice. She confronts social and cultural issues with an unrelenting directness that, if you're (for one of few excusable reasons) not woke yet, will make you check your every last privilege. We followed the touring artist in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and performances at Newark local Gallery Aferro and NYC spoken-word scene classic Nuyorican Poet's Cafe, and witnessed the art of her whole-room rapture.

On location in Newark, where the poet still calls home, she took our crew through her favorite neighborhood hangs, or what's left of them in a steadily gentrifying city. There, we discussed what being a black woman means to her, something she calls her "double handicap." (Watch the interview here.) But above all, her work is a moving collection of politically urgent moments at the intersection of race and gender.

Watch the powerful poem "Dear Flotus," performed by Mans for The Why Women Project. 

Editor, The Why Women Project