BGF Artist Spotlight: Yazmin Monet Watkins
“I am so pleased with the woman I am becoming.”
You may already be familiar with Yazmin Monet Watkins. Perhaps you are one of the hundreds of thousands that watched her short film “When She Smiles,” via her feature on Russell Simmons, All Def Digital. Maybe you read her Huffington Post interview, have seen her perform poetry live in a Parisian university, or have seen her open for Amiri Baraka. No matter where you may have seen her initially, a quick Google search will reveal that she has also been a dozen other places since then.
My introduction to Yazmin’s work came with her most recent release, “Grateful.” In the digital short she recounts the gratefulness she feels for her queerness, Blackness, artistry, and love from women that has sustained her. Yazmin’s creative work has a certain duality, fusing social activism with spoken word. For example, she brazenly shares her experiences with love as a queer Black woman. The visual piece that pushes this message forward was posted on All Def Digital and shared with over 300,000 viewers. In her Huffington Post Interview, Yazmin expresses why this display is so important to the LBGTQ community:
“For Simmons to release a short film/poem regarding queer womyn of color/same-sex love/a story with W.O.C. at the center is groundbreaking. These kinds of stories are important in fostering understanding, acceptance and support for the queer community. In seeing our stories represented in the media, we are validated and find role models that look more like ourselves.”
Yazmin’s commitment to creating the content she needed to see is made evident in the visual spoken word shorts she films, as well as in her having published a book of poetry and accompanying photograph (“poetography”) titled “The Bi-Laws of Love.” Yazmin not only works on her own pieces but in conjunction with other Black women committed to telling our stories, see Issa Rae.
The artistic work of Yazmin Monet Watkins is a refreshing expression of love and gratefulness for the experiences her Blackness has worked to provide her with. With a strong, clear voice she highlights the distinct experiences of Black women, and for that we should all be grateful.
Black girls are fly because we speak truth to power. We are powerful and beautiful, surging with so much potential sparking electric in our bones. We are an impossible blend of Spirit, survival, and love from our ancestors. We are the ground shakers, the foundation splitters, we are every answer we've been waiting for.
We are fly because as the Combahee River Collective once stated "If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression." Black girls are fly because our liberation is rooted in radical self love for ourselves and each other. Our collective presence alone has the ability to heal the world.
-Yazmin Monet Watkins
Connect With Yazmin Here:
Watch “Grateful” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpqs8U81srY
*“Grateful” can be purchased on Itunes*
Ashely Tisdale is a recent graduate of Florida A&M University. She earned my Bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently in the process of pursuing a PhD. She is a big sister, dreamer, prayer, girlfriend, and underemployed window shopping enthusiast. She thinks "Black Girls Are Fly because history has simultaneously deemed us un-credited trendsetters and undesirable. Despite these consistent inconsistencies, we celebrate ourselves." Find her: Boldbuxombeautiful.com| StoriesofSisterhood.com