Staceyann's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Full Circle

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    New York, NY

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 11

STACEYANN CHIN

Poet & Activist

“The heaviest thing you will have to carry as you move forward is regret. Make sure you're not carrying too much.”

INTERESTS:

Philosophy & Religion Writing

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Exploration Family Fear Fulfillment Honesty Passion Risk Regrets Societal Pressures Struggle Transitions Values Choices Confidence Courage Culture Individualism Self-Reflection Education Character Money & Financial Security Inspiration Support & Encouragement Goals Experience

FOUNDATION:

Learning and Being Challenged

TAGS:

abuse, activism, activist, Def Poetry Jam, feminism, homosexuality, Jamaica, journals, lesbian, poet, poetry, sex, sexual assault, shame, slam poetry, The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir, Tony, writer, writing, youth

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Her mother abandoned her family when she was born, and she says her relatives were not equipped to raise a mouthy young child.
  • She would always write through her angst in her journal, and she'd make up stories to take her out of reality.
  • She'd pretend she was Anne of Green Gables or Oliver Twist; she was inspired by stories of the down and out kids who made it.
  • After keeping all of her anger inside for years, she finally exploded and blurted out all of her struggles to her college roommates.
  • She calls that explosion a "valuable accident" because after that, she was free to use her voice, and she was able to come out as gay.
  • Her blatant outspokenness made her a target on campus, and when she was 22, she was sexually assaulted by a group of male students.
  • After the assault, she realized she couldn't live as an out lesbian in Jamaica, so she moved to the U.S.
  • She discovered the New York City poetry scene; getting up on that stage for the first time, she finally found the power behind her "roar."

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