Michelle Denise Jackson is a writer, performer, storyteller, and teaching artist who uses personal narrative, humor, and media to engage and empower individuals, communities, and organizations. Her areas of interest are social justice, identity, culture, race, gender, sexuality, body, love, and coming-of-age.
She was born and raised in Southern California to two public school educators and artists, so working at the intersection between culture and social justice was never an option—it was a mandate. Michelle studied theatre at California State University Long Beach before transferring to NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she took courses in communication & media studies, cultural studies, literature, creative writing, and performance. She graduated with a B.A. in “(Re)Constructing/Imagining Reality through Narrative & Performance” in 2011.
Michelle has been writing, performing, and telling stories for the last decade. As a spoken word poet, she has performed in California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. As an actress and playwright, she has written, performed, and co-produced shows shows in California and New York. In 2012, she released her first self-published collection of poems in a chapbook titled, there will be no more love poems about war. In 2013, she co-founded the Necessary Body Collective with sistafriends Nina Simone Moore and KasiTeyana. Their original poetry/theatre show, A Necessary Body, premiered in Long Beach in September 2013.
As a teaching artist, Michelle has led workshops and trainings at high schools, universities, and community-based organizations throughout Southern California. In 2011, she co-founded ¡DUENDE! Long Beach, a grassroots organization that provided mentoring and programming to youth through social justice and spoken word. She has also developed, led, and facilitated two youth-based sexual health programs for organizations in South LA.
She currently lives, works, and creates in Los Angeles. She enjoys binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, cooking fancy dinners, becoming a WikiPedia expert on random topics, people watching, great conversation, and traveling. Current projects include: a web series, the poetry/theatre show A Necessary Body, an untitled semi-autobiographical screenplay, and a manuscript of poems and personal writing.