Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans
I’ve been a fan of spoken word poetry for about a decade now, and Jasmine Mans was one of my first favorite poets. She was a part of an incredible collective called The Strivers Row, comprised of six very talented poets: Zora Howard, Alysia Harris, Miles Hodges, Joshua Bennett, Carvens Lissaint, and of course, Jasmine Mans. (I listed all of them so you can go look them up, they’re all doing amazing work!) The Strivers Row introduced and welcomed early teenage me into the world of spoken word art and fostered a love that I hold onto to this day.
Reading and listening to (yes, I did both) Jasmine Mans’ book of poetry, Black Girl, Call Home, was nothing short of delightful for me. The experience felt warm and nostalgic; it was life-affirming. Indeed, it was my call home.
So, in light of, and in honor of all I’ve learned and felt from Jasmine Mans over the years, I’ve written my own poem in tribute to Black Girl, Call Home.
These poems. pay homage to blackness in so many of its iterations. These poems speak. to personal quarrels & systemic battles, paint nuanced cultural anecdotes as vibrant masterpieces. These poems elicit. visceral nostalgia: honoring grand traumas, embracing quotidian joys. These poems. to the eye, draw out deep sighs, heartfelt mmhm's of understanding, & identifying. These poems. to the ear, bear witness, to profound conviction, excavate space, for profound truths. These poems offer. hand & heart to hold. These poems. birthed of courage of audacity, hurt and jubilee. These poems supersede. looking and listening. These poems demand. seeing eye & hearing ear. These poems. cannot may not be ignored.