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Jillian Hanesworth

"I hope I can help the Black community realize that we are not just beautiful because we are resilient, we're beautiful because we exist."

Welcome to my revolution! I am a spoken word artist from Buffalo, NY, and the first poet laureate of Buffalo! I truly believe in the power of art and the power of the people. Those beliefs combined, embodies my art and my heart. Everything I do is for the people, and for the culture.

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Mourning Until Morning

This poem was commissioned by AKG Museum and is currently on display as a part of Before and After Again - an exhibition on display at AKG from March 8, 2024 until September 30, 2024

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Support Buffalo Books!

Since its inception, the Buffalo Books project has placed over one thousand books into the hands of members of Buffalo’s East and West side communities. This project is successful due to the support of people like you! If you’d like to purchase books for the community, click the link below!

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About Jillian


Jillian Hanesworth is an EMMY nominated spoken word artist, the Poet Laureate Emeritus of
Buffalo, New York and a community organizer and activist. Jillian was born and raised on the
east side of Buffalo where she developed a vision to use art and advocacy to help her
community reimagine justice and work together to create a system where all people can
Currently, Jillian travels the country performing poetry and speaking on various topics including;
art for activism, the impacts of storytelling and the importance of honest and critical social and
political conversations. In addition, Jillian oversees “Buffalo Books”, a nationally recognized
program which aims to improve access to culturally relevant books for residents of the east side
of Buffalo with the hopes of helping to increase literacy rates among Black and brown

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"The important thing is that you’re true to yourself because you have got something to give to the world that nobody in the whole world can give. We ain't talkin' about Jill Scott, we talkin’ about Jill Hanesworth."

- Dr. Cornel West

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Contact Me

Buffalo, NY


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