Michelle Denise Jackson is a writer and storyteller born and raised in Southern California. She grew up in the dusty desert valleys of the Inland Empire, where she created melodramatic soap operas with her half-naked Barbies to stifle her boredom. When she outgrew her dolls, she moved on to writing angst-ridden poetry and performing histrionic monologues in her high school’s drama department.
She received her B.A. from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. There, Michelle explored the intersections of storytelling, cultural studies, and social justice in a self-designed concentration she (obnoxiously) titled, "(Re)Constructing/Imagining Reality through Narrative and Performance." During her time in New York, she also wrote, performed, but mostly watched spoken word poetry with NYU's top-ranked slam poetry team.
Upon graduating, Michelle returned home to California and co-founded ¡DUENDE! Long Beach, a grassroots arts organization that provided arts-based workshops and performance opportunities to local youth. In 2012, ¡DUENDE! took Long Beach's youth slam poetry team to compete at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival. Michelle also taught sex education and led youth programs for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and the South L.A. Youth Advisory Council for Reproductive Health. She is one of the founding organizers of the Spring Into Love Healthy Teen Fest, an annual day of workshops that educate and celebrate sexual health and reproductive justice.
When sliding condoms on plastic bananas finally lost its spark, Michelle decided to pursue her passion for writing full-time. She co-wrote and co-starred in the theatrical poetry show, A Necessary Body, with fellow sister-artists KasiTeYana and Nina Simone Moore. Michelle and Kasi went on to co-create and co-star in the web series, GIRL, GET YO' LIFE!. She also became a contributing writer for the acclaimed Black feminist digital platform, For Harriet. Eventually, she joined the staff as an editorial assistant to founder and editor-in-chief Kimberly Foster. After writing and editing for the website for almost two years, Michelle left as Senior Editor.
Michelle holds an MFA from USC School of Cinematic Arts' renowned John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television where she was awarded both the Annenberg Graduate Fellowship and the Edward Small Screenwriting Award. She also served as event coordinator for the John Wells Division's annual industry networking event, First Pitch.
She now works as a television writer. When not writing, reading, and binging massive amounts of TV, Michelle enjoys eating, wasting time on Twitter, and keeping her social media networks updated about the antics of her cat, Baxter. As an aspiring television creator and showrunner, she hopes to tell stories that center and celebrate people from marginalized communities doing the messy work of becoming their whole and free selves.
But more than anything, she just wants to make her Momma and Daddy proud.