A Web Portal For Lesbians Of Color

Jasmyne Cannick - Activist

Jasmyne Ariel Cannick grew up in a middle class family in Hermosa Beach, California.  A product of public schools, she was an avid gymnast, dancer and writer.  Due to circumstances beyond her control, Jasmyne spent several years in the foster care system in Los Angeles, California.  At the age of 16 she graduated high school and was declared an emancipated adult at the age of 17.  Jasmyne attended college in Los Angeles majoring in communications with an emphasis on public relations and a minor in Africana studies.

After college she worked as an advertising account executive before deciding to go into business for herself as a publicist.  While working as a publicist, Jasmyne noticed the lack of black gay images in the media.  She then devoted most of her time to ensuring that black gay issues were represented in African American media as well as mainstream gay media.

After several years of doing pro bono work for various organizations, she accepted the prestigious position of  People of Color Media Manager for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  Her position focused exclusively on the accurate representation of black gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons on the media.  A year later found Jasmyne at the Black AIDS Institute as the director of public and media relations working for her mentor Phill Wilson.

Late last year, friend and filmmaker Patrik-Ian Polk (PUNKS),  asked her if she would be interested in producing his new ground breaking documentary Noah’s Arc, the first black gay series.  She eagerly accepted the position.  Since then Noah’s Arc has become a household name in black gay America and will be released during the summer of 2004.

During this time, Jasmyne has accepted board positions on various organizations including the National Black Justice Coalition, an ad hoc coalition of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered leaders fighting against discrimination in African American communities, At the Beach Los Angeles Black Gay Pride and the Zuna Institute, a national advocacy organization for black lesbians that was created to address the needs of black lesbians in the areas of health, public policy, economic development, and education.

A frequent presence on television and radio, she has appeared on numerous media programs, including Black Entertainment Television News, the Tavis Smiley Show, Fox News and the Bev Smith Show.  She has also been featured or quoted in articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, St. Petersburg Times, Africana.com and Bet.com.

Since Jasmyne began her career in media advocacy on behalf of black gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons she has be able to place stories on BET, CNN, ABC, in addition to hundreds of black newspapers, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, the Associated Press and more highlighting the issues of black gays.  Her writings are also published in several newspapers and magazines.  She now writes a syndicated column published in newspapers and websites around the country.

Jasmyne continues to be an HIV/AIDS and media activist, journalist and spokesperson on behalf of black gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender persons everywhere.  She lives in Los Angeles.

“As African Americans and African American gays and lesbians, we have a responsibility to get involved in our community.  We have a responsibility to the youth coming behind us to leave this world a better place than which we inherited.  If we don’t take our community seriously, how can we expect others too.” – Jasmyne Cannick, June 2004