Staceyann Chin is a fulltime writer and activist. Recipient of the 2007 Power of the Voice Award from Human Right Campaign, the 2008 Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality, and 2008 Honors from the Lesbian AIDS Project, she identifies as Caribbean and Black, Asian and lesbian, woman and resident of New York City.
Widely known as co-writer and original performer in the Tony award winning, Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, her poetry has seen the rousing cheers of the Nuyorican Poets' Café, one-woman shows Off-Broadway, writing-workshops in Sweden, South Africa, and Australia.
A proud Jamaican National, Staceyann’s voice was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where she spoke candidly about her experiences of growing up on the island and the dire consequences of her coming-out there.
NYU, Pace, Willamette, Holy Cross, Harvard, Cornell, University of Illinois, University of New Hampshire, University of Miami, University of California at San Diego, Grinnell College, Yale University and The University of the West Indies are only a few of the colleges and Universities at which she has been a guest speaker and performer.
Chin has enjoyed great success globally; she has been featured by access programs across the US and Europe, by radio stations and theaters like The Joseph Pap Public Theatre in New York, and Sweden’s Kanon Hallen, with numerous performances in London, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, St. Lucia, England, Jamaica and New York's own Central Park- Summer Stage.
Chin is quick to say her activist life began with fury of performance poetry. Winner of the 1999 Chicago People of Color Slam, the 1998 Lambda Poetry Slam, the 1998 and 2000 Slam This, and WORD: The First Slam for Television, she also took the American Amazon Slam title in Aarhus, Denmark in 2000.
Publications, including A, Everybody, Mosaic, Curve, Venus, Essence and Next magazines, The New York Foundation for the Arts' (NYFA's) FYI, and Jane, The North Independent Weekly, The Ekstra Bladet, The Politiken, Retorik Magasinet, Berlingske The New York Newsday, The Jamaica Gleaner, The Village Voice, The Orlando Weekly Drum Voices, The Shades Newsletter The New York Times, The New York and Washington Blade, The South African Times, have all featured Staceyann and her prose, poems and essays.
Chin has penned the chapbooks, Wildcat Woman, Stories Surrounding My Coming, Catalogue the insanity, The Mad Hatter: Volumes I and II, and poems in numerous anthologies, including but not limited to Skyscrapers, Taxis and Tampons, Poetry Slam, Role Call, Cultural Studies: Critical Methodologies, Bullets and Butterflies, and Def Poetry Jam, We Don’t Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the next generation of Feminists, The Bronx Biannual: Issue 2 Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, and the DVD Staceyann Chin/Home-made in Stockholm.
Staceyann can be heard on CD compilations out of Bar 13 @ Union Square, Pow Wow productions, and as more than an occasional host of In The Life, America’s monthly Gay and Lesbian Newsmagazine, aired by PBS.
Chin on-screen clips include interviews on NBC, CNN, VH1, and BET, LOGO, "60 Minutes" and performances on the CBS aired Tony Award show and The film Staceyann Chin was released in theaters in Denmark in 2001. It was also aired on the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian national TV stations. Between the Lines, a documentary that explores the notion of being Asian and woman and writer, also featured Staceyann. September 2005 brought the pleasure nabbing a small part in Across The Universe, the new film musical from director Julie Taymor, which features music from the Beatles.
Chin’s first one-person show, "HANDS AFRIRE", ran for ten weeks at the Bleecker Theater in 2000. The same Off-Broadway Theater welcomed the 2nd Show, "UNSPEAKABLE THINGS" in 2001 before she took it to Copenhagen for a week long run. BORDER/CLASH opened in 2005 to rave reviews from The Times, to The Voice, to The New Jersey Ledger, and ran for three months.
Staceyann was nominated for the 2002 Rolex Mentor and Protege Art Initiative, and received a 2003 Drama Desk award for her writing in Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. The first poet commissioned to write and perform a piece with the prestigious Dance Africa Chicago, she was recognized by the Black Theater Alliance of America for her work in the piece, “Jagged Ledges,” performed along with the dance troupe Roots.
She was nominated for the 2006 GLAAD award for Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway and Off Broadway. The Center for Women and Gender at Dartmouth College selected her for 2007 The Visionary in Residence award. Staceyann remains Poet in Residence at The Culture Project (formerly 45 Bleecker Theater), New York’s edgy political Off-Broadway theater.
Chin has been a stock feature on 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.
In the autumn of 2006, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 1992, Derek Walcott, invited the young poet to study with him at Boston University where she dallied with poems about Emily Dickinson and Hart Crane.
Her favorite tour remains the mad dash through South Africa: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and a quick visit to Soweto. In short—be it Australia, Jamaica, Altoona, or Hawaii—when invited, Staceyann will pack her poems and travel there.
Chin is the author of the memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, Scribner. Simon and Schuster, Inc.
On the average day the poet/performer/activist/entertainer writes disjointed journal entries, feeds her dog, obsesses about global poverty, feeds the cat, attempts to bridge the divide between African-Americans and the Caribbean, between Africa and its fragile connection to its Diaspora. All this she does while trying to be a-not-so-easily-categorized, political body, residing inside the current America, committing to the responsibility of being an everyday activist navigating with integrity, and still, be able to breathe.