Undiscovered Superwoman

April 5, 2011
Now this is a message for America’s most struggling, inspiring poets: Someday you may be invited to speak and compete in a Poetry Bash, Slam, or Bam. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity....

Run away. Hide in your house. Pretend to go on a cruise. On the way to the destination, jump off and swim to shore. Find a pay phone, call a cab, and check into a hotel. Whatever you do: Don’t Ever Leave.

Because you might end up leaving the stage crying, a little too determined to speak that people end up crying with you because of the power your words convey. The power your words convey could trigger a different type of emotion in them or heal an unforgiven internal wound. The power your words convey can make someone frozen in their seats when your work is done. The power your words convey could make someone remember your words for the rest of their life. Those very words could have moved someone so much that you end up with a scholarship. And you might not want any of this.

Because those very same words might lead to an inbox with an inbox overflowing with hate mail. And you might be the type who reads the mail. And those words might end up washing you away. And you might be the type who remembers the painful words they said. And these words can have so much power that they make you cry at night, make you have unrealized depression, and make you scared to leave the house because your afraid someone might recognize your face. And then there’s the others.

The type who sees the love overconquering the hate. The type who doesn’t pay attention to the hate and when they do- it encourages them to grow and challenges them to be a better artist. These are the type who dare people to send them hate mail. The type who sees their family, their people, their environment, and their society and sees it as inspiration for new art. The type who create art that uplifts and challenges.

Furthermore, her role models- she seeks out. And when she sees the shame in someone, she sees the change that someone could make. She wants to create art around the world, go around the world, and tell the story of art. She believes in herself and when on stage you can feel the capability in her words, her tone, her movement, and cadence.

She’s only 19 and since her video “The Mis-Education of a Barbie Doll” went viral; she’s has had to build a tougher skin, try to focus harder on her school work, and settle with these misconceptions and misunderstandings of her work. People have called her a hater and her poem a diss track.

In 2008, She performed her biggest piece of work with her self-written, one-woman stage play: “Loops”. In addition, she has won the Knicks Poetry Slam and numerous other competitions. She competed two years in a row in the Brave New Voices Poetry Contest and took second place under the direction of UrbanWordNYC. She has a total of 7 newspaper write-ups and a performance slot in the Sundance Festival. She has worked with Stan Lathan, Kamilah Forbes, Wyclef Jean, Janelle Monae and Mos Def while performing her spoken word poetry. Lastly, in 2008, she helped raise awareness about global warming (Robert Redford’s Green Team) through performance poetry.

Being shown on Def Poetry and HBO’s Brave New Voices while documenting her experiences, gave her the opportunity to win herself $20,000 in a scholarship from the The Star Ledger-NJPAC. She soon started attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison because of the First Wave Program (offered a balance of Art and Academics and a 4-year scholarship).
No, she has not won a Nobel Peace Prize (yet). No, she has not started a movement or revolution (yet). And she has not became the first female black president (again, not yet). However, despite all these things she hasn’t accomplished. She does have the capability of accomplishing them. And therefore-

Jasmine Mans Is One Of My Heroes- The Undiscovered Superwoman.

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
-Joseph Campbell





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