Staceyann Chin is a fulltime artist. A resident of New York City and a Jamaican National, she has been an “out poet and political activist” since 1998. From the rousing cheers of the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe to one-woman shows Off- Broadway to poetry workshops in Denmark and London to co-writer and performer in the Tony nominated, Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, Chin credits the long list of “things she has done” to her grandmother’s hard-working history and the pain of her mother’s absence.
NYU, Pace, Willamette, Holy Cross, Harvard, Cornell, University of Illinois, University of New Hampshire, University of Miami, University of California at San Diego, Boston University, Grinnell College, these are only few of the “institutes of higher education” at which she has shared the stories surrounding her coming.
Chin was the winner of the 1999 Chicago People of Color Slam; first runner- up in the 1999 Outright Poetry Slam; winner of the 1998 Lambda Poetry Slam; a finalist in the 1999 Nuyorican Grand Slam; winner of the 1998 and 2000 Slam This!; and winner of WORD: The First Slam for Television. She has also been featured by cable access programs in Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as many local radio stations including, WHCR and WBAI. The Joseph Pap Public Theatre has featured this young poet on more than one occasion, and Staceyann has enjoyed great success internationally, with much lauded performances in London, Denmark, Germany, and New York’s own Central Park- Summer Stage.
In 1999, Staceyann took the American Amazon Slam title in Aarhus, Denmark. Denmark so loved the young writer on her American Amazon Tour that her personal history, photo and work graced the cover of the national Newspaper The Politiken as well as the controversial, and spicy, Ekstra Bladet. Since then, many more Danish Newspapers have voiced their opinion of the poet from Montego Bay, Jamaica: The Information, Retorik Magasinet, and Berlingske.
Various American publications, including the magazines A, Everybody, Mosaic, Curve, Venus, The New York Foundation for the Arts’ (NYFA’s) FYI, and Jane, as well as the newspapers, the New York Newsday, The Village Voice, and Drum Voices have featured Staceyann. The myriad of journals and Newsletters in which her work has appeared also include, The Shades Newsletter, GMAD magazine, the New York Blade, The Monsoon, and the Black women’s magazine, Personal Personals.
Her individual performances warranted her work being published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Pittsburgh Daily. Her work was also featured on “60 Minutes.” Her poems can be found in her first chapbook, Wildcat Woman, the one she now carries on her back, Stories Surrounding My Coming, and numerous the anthologies, including Skyscrapers, Taxis and Tampons, Poetry Slam, Role Call, Cultural Studies: Critical Methodologies. Staceyann’s voice can be heard on CD compilations out of Bar 13- Union Square, Pow Wow productions and many more.
“Hands Afire”, Staceyann’s first one-woman show ran for ten weeks at the Bleecker Theater in the Summer of 2000. The same Off-Broadway Theater welcomed the 2nd Show, “UNSPEAKABLE THINGS” in the summer of 2001 before she took it to Copenhagen for a week long run. London, Helsinki, Sweden and Norway are in the line-up to see the new generation of the show.
Chin has also been the subject of on-screen ventures; from clips and interviews on NBC, CNN, VH1, and BET to performances on the CBS aired Tony Award show. The film Staceyann Chin was released in theaters in Denmark in 2001. It was also aired on the Danish National Television station. Between the Lines, a documentary that explores the notion of being Asian and woman and writer, is the latest to feature Staceyann.
In 2002, Staceyann was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protege Art Initiative where she was considered as a possible protege for Toni Morrison. She was also featured on the second and third seasons of the Peabody Award winning HBO series, Def Poetry Jam. She has since then gone on to co-writing and performing as one of the original cast members of the ground-breaking and critically acclaimed, Tony Award winning Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.
Summer 2003 brought a remarkably successful whirlwind tour of South Africa: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and a quick visit to Soweto. October found her playing at dancer when she was asked to be the first poet commissioned to write and perform a piece with the prestigious Dance Africa Chicago. In short, be it Australia, Jamaica, Altoona, or Hawaii—Staceyann will pack her poems and travel there.
Still fighting for time to finish all the other projects she has begun: her much-anticipated memoir, the new one-woman show, CDs, the books of unfinished poems, The poet/performer/activist/entertainer is desperately trying to create some room to travel to see her sister and to breathe.