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Staceyann Chin: A Woman Making History

March 20, 2010

30 Women Making History In recognition of the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month, Women’s Media Center is profiling 30 extraordinary women making history. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support WMC Exclusives — every dollar raised will go directly toward hiring women writers to comment on major news stories and report topics often neglected by the mainstream media. Will you contribute $30? Click here to donate: or text WOMEN to 50555 to make a $10 donation. ChinStaceyann Chin: A Woman Making History by Tahira Pierre-Cadet Jamaican spoken-word poet and LGBT rights activist Staceyann Chin is a bastion of the urban poetry scene. From the Nuyorican Poets Café in downtown New York City to the big lights of Broadway, Chin moves audiences with her raw and provocative performances that cover issues like radical feminism with more emphasis on portraying truth than trying to be politically correct. She co-wrote and performed in the Tony-nominated Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, and I first became a fan after seeing her there. She has also performed in off-Broadway one-woman shows and poetry workshops around the world, is the host of Logo's After Ellen Internet show, “She Said What?” and a co-host of Centric's “My Two Cents.” Her spoken word has been recognized as champion of the 1998 Lambda Poetry Slam, the 1999 Chicago People of Color Slam, 1998 and 2000 Slam This!, the 1999 American Amazon Slam title in Denmark, and WORD: The First Slam for Television. Chin, a half-Chinese half-black Jamaican lesbian is a rare gem hailing from the Caribbean. However, her uniqueness has oftentimes threatened to diminish her shine.  Like Chin, I am an immigrant from the West Indies and remorsefully familiar with its prejudiced mores – a culture well known for its welcoming smiles but diseased with intolerance for its gay sons and daughters. Nevertheless, Staceyann Chin has revolutionized what it means to be from the islands. Her activism to end violence, homophobia, sexism, and racism; and incredible power to move people with her speech has garnered her attention from Oprah, 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsday, The New York Foundation for the Arts' (NYFA's) FYI, and many others. In her one-woman show, "Border/Clash," Chin “proclaims that she is her mother's voice, a voice that was silenced early by sexism and poverty, among other things.” (New York Times, July 17, 2005) She was being modest – Chin is the voice of countless women from all corners of the globe – a woman making history!