Poet, Author, Performer, Poet, Teacher
Part of the Whispermaze objective, is to converse with people who resonate a particular message, clearly, and more so evoking tendencies to aspire despite the emotional temperature of the global landscape. Jasmine Mans- an author, performer, poet and teacher, resonates such a message, and fitting in a manner of which is beautifully brutal. Through the many forms at her disposal, expresses her thoughts, moods, opinions on behalf of others and the community around her, as a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (2014), receiving her BA in African-American Studies (Black Theory & Literature) that and the Star Ledger, and (New York) Knicks Poetry Slam Scholarships and awards, Jasmine Mans, amidst such an expressional climate remaining principally impressionable, thus beautifully poetic and incredibly relevant.
WM: Jasmine, tell us a little about yourself. Who is this Jasmine Mans?
JM: I'm a daughter and I belong to a family from Newark, NJ. We didn't have a lot but we always had art & family. Art taught me my history. A part of the reason I loved learning poetry was because the stories I heard were the stories of black folks. Poetry made me feel confident in my blackness, and that’s a confidence my parents afforded me.
WM: Why is poetry important?
JM: Poetry is important because it provides a medium for language, whether in the mist of love or the smoke of protest, poetry is important because it transfers both emotion and story.
WM: What prompted you to begin writing poetry?
JM: I was always attracted to rhyme and wordplay, so I followed that feeling. I also saw poetry in my family, my uncle was a poet, he used to force it out of me, he would embarrass me, and he’d make me spit him a poem every time I saw him, he was teaching me to be prepared when something was asked of me. So, I think, one of the biggest things that prompted my writing was my fear of embarrassment, and then my desire to impress.
WM: What motivates you to write?
JM: My parents, and seeing them work so hard, every day, even though my brothers and I have all graduated from college, they still work hard for us. They sacrificed so much because they wanted me to feel privileged enough to do what I wanted in this world. Isn't that something? They wanted me to follow my passion. My motivation comes from thinking about the fact that they didn't have that privilege, to explore what they loved.
WM: Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?
JM: Yes, absolutely, and it's still changing. Poetry is a fluid form that exists everywhere; in both the breeze and the storm. I try not to hold poetry to just one standard, it's as unpredictable, as it in traditional.
WM: I really appreciate how a lot of your poetry is, in its very own way empowering to women, more so; black women as it gives a positive message however candid, and sometimes brutal. I was wondering if you could speak a little bit on that.
JM: -I guess, art reflects life, I'm a black woman, raised by a host of black women, and I fell in love with women, many of them black, all of whom who share similar stories, scars, and hair styles. I'm a voice, of a moment, in the endless story of the black girl.
WM: What are your thoughts about the racial tension in America today, a tension the wider world is abundantly aware of?
JM: I pray for the children who fight, and the parents who let them leave home to fight; both in the streets, the courts, and the classroom. People of colour have always been asked to manage terror, and then, we grow up, and we are asked to manage our trauma.
WM: When was the first time that you felt "Wow, my work actually has an impact on someone else?"
JM: I think it was around the time my poem ‘Dear Ex Lover’ came out. Mothers and daughters wanted to engage on how to deal with family & sexuality. I didn't have any answers, but I had a story, even though we didn't have answers to homophobia, heartbreak, and pain; we had a vocabulary. My work can give people a vocabulary.
WM: What for the future for Jasmine Mans?
JM: I'd like to explore the world and write about it. I want to be a dependable artist for my people. I can't really predict my future, but I'm incredible excited for the stories and the love, I hope there's a lot of love.