Jasmine Mans reflects on the journey that led her to find her purpose through art and a serendipitous door to the cannabis industry.
Jasmine Mans has no need for a Zoom background. She sits in front of her computer near a growing fiddle fig tree, with relics of her ancestral past and personal present behind her.
Behind her are six frames, one which contains a vintage hot comb and another a vintage curling iron. All other frames seem to be time capsules – real and imagined – serving as glimpses of the joy, pain, and strength within the Black experience.
The pieces on her wall are a direct reflection of what moves her.
“The state of blackness, be the joy or the terror, is the first thing I find inspiring – it’s where my accountability lies. When I write, I feel most prone to write about these things. I’m working to find balance because it’s not always about writing everything that happens in the world. It’s about figuring out where your voice is in the larger narrative. I find honor and commitment in this.”
Mans’ year has been an act of stabilizing the scales between life as an artist and businesswoman.
She recently released her visual poem Cycles – an intimate expose’ of the complexities she experienced from her romantic relationship’s end. She’s also been on an interview circuit promoting her most recent book, Black Girl Call Home, and taking her business – Buy Weed From Women – to new heights.
“I don’t want to get so caught up in celebrating all of these really exciting moments and talking to brilliant people, where no one knows that there’s a healing process happening through my work,” she says.
A rising star honoring healing
Mans is a lifelong artist. Raised in Newark, New Jersey, she gravitated toward words and performance. Through words, she expressed her feelings about racism, police violence, coming out, and honoring herself and others.
“Black women – Black queer women don’t often see displays of love. We don’t see queer women, black women navigating spaces that don’t have trauma attached,” Mans’ said. “I want more stories so that girls can have a model of what love looks like.
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When she was in college, Man’s came out to her mother and received little to no support.
“There were all of these moments when I felt both my parents were rejecting the identity I was stepping into,” Mans recalled. “There’s been a lot of pain on my journey. As a writer, my job – especially as a queer woman – is to talk about it.”
Using cannabis apparel to support women in weed
Cannabis has been a saving grace throughout Mans’ evolution.
“I had so many ideas for Buy Weed From Women but couldn’t execute. Now, this little thing that was in my head is transitioning and teaching me about what it means to run a business, grow, and honor women in the process.”
When she was younger, she used cannabis for the joy that would come from it. Yet, as her notoriety grew, she realized cannabis was easing the anxiety she felt from people knowing the intimate details of her story.
Eventually, Mans began touring with her poetry and opening for artists like Janelle Monáe and getting invited to perform at places like the Kennedy Center and Sundance Film Festival.
“I eventually realized I needed to create merchandise for my tours. One day, I stumbled upon the words ‘Buy Weed From Women’ and thought to myself; this is going to mean something to the world.”
Her thought was validated after launching her line of apparel on her personal social media page. The positive reaction was resounding. “At that point, I thought to myself, what would it mean if my concept lived in another space and had its own home?”
From there, she created a website and lined her boiler room closet with heavy-duty shelves to store her growing stock of shirts, jackets, and tote bags.
Seeing Chelsea Handler and Gabrielle Union talking about Buy Weed From Women was further proof of the brand’s success. “I felt the energy of the company shifting. I felt my energy towards the company shifting. I thought to myself; no one runs an empire alone. I had to decide how much of an investment I was willing to put into it.”
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Buy Weed from Women continues to grow
“I stumbled upon participating in the cannabis industry. It’s a blessing to see how much people care about the brand. I want to make sure Buy Weed From Women has an honorable utility that lasts.”
This year, Mans moved Buy Weed From Women out of her boiler room closet and into a dedicated office space. Her staff has grown too, allowing her to take on larger projects and expand into wholesaling.
As Mans grows her business, she continues to thrive as an artist. Her book – Black Girl, Call Home has been regarded as one of 2021s most anticipated books by Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Refinery 29, Essence, and many more.
“My purpose is centered in writing. This book has given me an opportunity to step into that purpose.” Black Girl, Call Home explores the complexities of relationships, womanhood, queer identity, and the Black experience.
Through Mans’ evolution, one thing is clear – she will honor her journey with transparency.