Diamond Forde


As someone who grew up in and around Atlanta, Outkast was major for me. Their music translated the sounds and landscapes of home into something that pumped out of everyone’s radios. Sure, I was born in New York but I didn’t really know New York. I was A-town down—wanted to be Outkasted: to have all the Southerness, Blackness, persistence, and bravado I thought that meant. In their 1996 album ATLiens, Outkast was imagining a truly Black future, but at some point I had to realize their future didn’t have me in it. Outkast’s music often neglected or outright abused Black women (Black queer women especially), and this realization created a crisis in me. This poem, then, is one exploration of that crisis, transforming the Jezebel character in their hit-song Jazzy Belle into a chorus of voices with unique perspectives on the power dynamics between men and women.

An Unlikely Chorus: Jazzy & Them Talk “Power” After Outkast’s “Jazzy Belle”

An Unlikely Chorus: Jazzy & Them Talk “Power”

Click the interactive pdf below to view.

Diamond Forde

Diamond Forde



Diamond Forde’s debut collection, Mother Body, is the winner of the 2019 Saturnalia Poetry Prize. Forde has received numerous awards and prizes, including a Pink Poetry Prize, a Furious Flower Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2022 Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. A Callaloo, Tin House, and Ruth Lilly Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg fellow, Forde’s work has appeared in Poetry, Obsidian, Massachusetts Review, and more. In her spare time, Forde also serves as the interviews editor of Honey Literary.


After Outkast’s “Jazzy Belle” (ATLiens, 1996) & Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon’s poem “The Daughter and The Concubine from the Nineteenth Chapter of Judges Consider and Speak Their Minds”

Black Listening's website front page header art and Obsidian 49.2 cover art were  created by Nettrice Gaskins

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