Source: Shahar Azran / Getty

Blackipedia is a weekly CASSIUS feature that takes a fun approach to exploring Black history, slang, and culture. For the month of April (#NationalPoetryMonth), we’re honoring legendary Black wordsmiths. Get ready to learn something—and tell a friend!  

Staceyann Chin

[stey-see an chin]


  • An ardent LGBTQ+ rights activist, Staceyann Chin is known as one of the most respected spoken word poets and performing artists of our time. She’s been published everywhere from The New York Times to HuffPost. She’s appeared everywhere from 60 Minutes to Def Poetry Jam.

  • Chin, who is openly lesbian, has been an “out poet and political activist” since the late ’90s. Her work has garnered her multiple accolades throughout her career, including various slam awards (she was the winner of WORD: The First Slam for Television) and rave reviews from publications like The Advocate (Michael Glitz wrote in 2003: “With poems that combine hilarious one-liners with a refusal to conform, Chin is out to confront more than just the straight world.”)

  • She’s made it her mission to challenge the status quo of what it means to be queer. In that same article, she stated: “Even within the queer community, we have ideas of what constitutes queer, and it is not always of color, and it is not always bisexual or transgender,” says Chin. “Or it isn’t always a femme who wears stick-on nails, or she can’t leave the house with makeup. Even within myself I challenge myself daily. Transgender people–the idea challenges me.”

To Learn More:

Getting Raves for Her Rants: Chinese-Jamaican Poet Staceyann Chin Brings Her Outraged Eloquence from Broadway to HBO’s Def Poetry (The Advocate)

Staceyann Chin Worries About Money, and Selling Out (The New York Times)

The Evolution of Staceyann Chin (PBS)