Bruha Spotlight: Jade Phoenix Martinez
How do your identity/identities shape the core of your life and work?
My identities are at the core of my work and life. As a trans femme, disabled, first gen Pilipinx, woman, much of my life and worldview are shaped by these identities, and also shape the way the world sees me. My work seeks to organize, build, and support those with any amount of shared identity and marginalization that comes with holding these identities close. As I like to say’ We are all we’ve got, so we gotta take care of each other. I hope my work and words reflect this. How do you use your work as a tool of empowerment? Because I have a platform from which to speak and have worked hard to reclaim my story and share my truths, many people have been drawn to the work I do. I am always aware of this privilege and responsibility and strive to an inspiration for empowerment for those of us that have been pushed to the margins. I do this through various themes of self-love, community interdependence, women’s rights, trans rights issues. I hope my work can be a catalyst, or support for those already doing the work for freedom.
What does Hip Hop Bruha mean to you?
Hip hop first of all is a cultural force and phenomenon with roots in the black communities and cannot divorce my identity with hip-hop from the work that black folks and other people of color have done to contribute to this cultural work of resistance and expression. As a Bruha, I find my power and spells to be weaved into the very essence of my work as a performance poet artist. Spoken word poetry is an extension of hip-hop and my poems are all considered spells. This to me is what it means to participate in the culture of hip-hop witchcraft.
Who or what inspires your work?
The struggle, the fight for liberation, the resistance and the people already invested in this work. I hope to only contribute my story and my voice to the wonderful collection of work and art that is already in movement. Also, my 4.5 year old daughter inspires me to new heights, to want to be part of creating a new world for her and the future generations give me motivation and inspiration to keep working everyday.
What is something everyone should do right now?
Check their privilege, and then use the privilege you find to leverage in the work of liberation for all. The asian/api and specifically Pilipinx communities have a lot of anti-blackness still rooted in its culture, its not uncommon to find API folks especially in hip-hop circles, take liberties with the “N” word and to me that is unnacceptable. If we are to truly be resposnible and take part of hip-hop culture and art, than we gotta stand up most for those that it represents, to the communities from which it was born in. #blacklivesmatter
Jade Phoenix Martinez is a Queer, Trans Femme, Woman of Color, First Generation Filipinx-American, Parent, LA based Performance Poet and Activist/Educator. Jade's work is a poetic expression rooted in the multiple identities she holds and how they intersect with her day to day fight for liberation while creating and navigating our current social and political systems and structures. Jade Phoenix is a fierce story and truth teller, a vulnerable and engaging performer, a passionate parent and informative educator, organizer and activist.
Twitter: @ _jade_phoenix_
Facebook: Jade Phoenix Martinez