We Have So Much Room to Grow

JASMYNE JONES

Interviewer Faith Lindsey: “Hi, my name is Faith Lindsey. I’m 18 and a student at Manual.”
“I’m a Ram, too. Former Ram. DuPont Manual, class of 2013, MST (math, science, technology magnet).”

 

“MST? That sounds like a struggle. Not me.”
“Nothing stuck but the hypothetical research method.

 


“I’m in J&C (journalism and communication), so whatever you just said? That’s crazy.”
“Mr. Zwanzig would be so proud. Listen, when I come back in and we match because I cut off my hair…”

 

“You would kill it.”
“People won’t let me do it because I get so down when I can’t do a bun — the bun is my favorite hairstyle. I do want to chop all my hair off.”

 

“And then that’s when you get a wig.”
“Oh, I love my half-wig. I’ve lost a wig in a bar.”

 

“You’ve lost a wig in a bar? Well, what were you doing?”
“Living my best happy life. It was my first Pride weekend in Louisville.”

 

“What brings you joy?”

“When Megan Thee Stallion said, ‘I’m a happy bitch.’ Like, ‘You can’t take my happiness.’ I felt every part of that. Like: Me too, girl. I am very happy. I will be down for a moment, and I’m just, like, back up. I’m sad, but I’m not my feelings.

 

Breonna Taylor was me. Getting her life together, truly woke up in January 2020, thought that this was her year. She was coming for all the things God promised her. And now you have people debating the worthiness of her life — when she did everything the way any of us would have done. And she was young. She had so much room to grow. Why can’t she look back and be like, ‘Remember the time I dated a drug dealer?’ Why can’t we all have that? As many white allies as I thought I had — I still have some, grateful for that. Very grateful. But the way you’re describing her matches how you used to describe me. ‘Well, you know, she was a little aggressive.’

 

I (worked) as a field organizer for the Amy McGrath campaign. I’m also a full-time student at U of L, my last semester, political science, law and public policy. And from time to time I’ll do some makeup. I want to be a lawyer. I say this all the time, but I think our people need side hustles that are also careers. Of course you can do a side hustle and be a real estate agent, an interior decorator. But when we get pulled over, who are we calling? Who’s making sure that we’re in and out just as fast as our white counterparts? I know several people who can lay down a beat for me. I know several people who can beat my face (meaning do flawless makeup). I know several people who can snatch a wig. That’s natural to us. Being the baddest is natural. Investing in ourselves, in the community, that’s a little bit harder for us. So I can have a law degree and never practice. But say you get pulled over: ‘Oh, I can call Jasmyne. Don’t worry about that. I’ll be out in two minutes.’ That’s what other races do. And I want that for us.

 

I don’t know if you feel it, but there are things being aligned right now and I’m like, ‘The West End is not going to look like that for much longer at all.’ The residents in the West End aren’t going to have the same complaints. I cannot wait for them to have the college complaints like, ‘Man, my Brussels sprouts aren’t as fresh as they were last week. I need to go to my mayor.’”

This is one of 26 interviews with Black women that ran in our 2020 No. 6 print issue.
Photos by Charlee Black.

 

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