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Jasmyne Ariel Cannick (born 22 October 1977) is an on-air and in-print African-American pop culture, race issues and politics commentator who works in politics. She is also known for her work as an advocate for underrepresented and marginalized communities where she continues to challenge and shape public opinion while encouraging civic engagement for positive social change. She was selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine's 25 Women Shaping the World, KCET's Southern California Seven Women of Vision, one of Los Angeles' Most Fascinating Angelenos by the L.A. Weekly and as one of the Out100 in 2019.
Jasmyne A. Cannick
|Born||October 22, 1977|
Culver City, California, US
|Occupation||Political strategist, communications strategist, journalist|
|Office||Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee, 53rd Assembly District|
Cannick initially grew up in Hermosa Beach, California. When her parents divorced she split her time between Hermosa Beach, California and Compton, California. From the age of 13 through 17 she was in foster care. She emancipated from the Department of Children and Family Services when she was 17.
Cannick has worked at all three levels of government including in the California State Assembly Mervyn M. Dymally as a press secretary before reprising that role in the House of Representatives for Congresswoman Laura Richardson. In Los Angeles County, she has worked for several city and county governments including five mayors and the president of the Los Angeles City Council.
She is a former co-chair of the National Stonewall Democrats Black Caucus. She currently sits on the board of the Los Angeles African American Women's Political Action Committee and the Black Alliance for Justice Immigration (BAJI) Political Action Committee.
In 2020, Jasmyne decided to run for public office after she became disillusioned with the Democratic Party's silence on Democratic major donor Ed Buck. Instead of exiting the Party, she successfully won a seat on the Los Angeles County Democratic Party's (unpaid) County Central Committee representing the 53rd Assembly District where she can now hold the Democratic Party, that she says gets the majority of Black's votes, more accountable as a voting member. She is the first Black person to ever be elected to this office from the 53rd Assembly District which includes Downtown Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Koreatown, Hancock Park, and West Adams.
Since 2004, Cannick has developed a strong national following for her willingness to tell it like it is in-print and on-air on uncomfortable and hard to discuss issues around race, politics, and society. She is proud of her reputation for bringing attention to stories and issues that would have gone under-reported, overlooked, or just ignored. She was named Journalist of the Year by Out Magazine in 2019. In 2006, Cannick wrote an essay titled "Gays First, Then Illegals", in which she argued that the LGBT community should be given the right to marry prior to any discussion of granting citizenship and other rights to non-US citizens. The essay was deemed xenophobic by many, and prompted an article signed by 55 activists in response.
Cannick is the founder of Justice 4 Gemmel and All of Ed Buck's Victims. She is the co-founder of My Hood Votes along with Compton rapper Eric “Eazy-E” Wright's son Lil E, a voter registration initiative focused on Los Angeles County's roughest neighborhoods. Cannick is a proud co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation's largest and oldest Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization. She is a former co-chair of the National Stonewall Democrats Black Caucus. She currently sits on the board of the Los Angeles African American Women's Political Action Committee and the Black Alliance for Justice Immigration (BAJI) Political Action Committee.
Cannick has been a voice and an advocate for many causes. She led a national campaign to retire white gay comedian Charles Knipp's character Shirley Q. Liquor, a self-described inarticulate Black woman on welfare with 19 kids. In 2005, she used her to voice to help make sure that the Los Angeles City taxpayers did not foot the bill to honor a homophobic Black pastor. That same year, she helped lead a protest against the “Tookie Must Die Hour” on KFI-AM with talk-show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou. Stanley “Tookie” Williams was the founder of the Crips gang and scheduled to be executed after being convicted in the 1979 killings of four people. Cannick also was the last person to interview Williams before his execution. She would go on to face off against KFI-AM again after talk-show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou made fun of Whitney Houston after she was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton calling her a “crack ho.” A comment that resulted in their suspension-–a first in the duo's 20 plus year career. Several years later Jasmyne took oKFI-AM morning show host Bill Handel to task for calling Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson a “cheap sleazy Democrat whore” on air that resulted in him having to make a public apology.
Cannick has always been an advocate of the Black LGBTQ community of which she belongs to.
She is the co-founder and a retired board member of the National Black Justice Coalition.
When Proposition 8, a measure that made same-sex marriage illegal in California was on the ballot, she was one of the leading voices in the Black and LGBTQ communities calling out African-Americans for their homophobia and the white led LGBTQ community for their racism against Blacks. She is known for her column “A White Gay’s Guide on Dealing with the Black Community for Dummies” where she would break down the pervasive and systemic racism in the white gay community towards Black people.
When Mitrice Richardson went missing after being released from a Los Angeles County jail in Malibu, Cannick worked with Mitrice's family to call attention to the case and to challenge the Sheriff's Department on the narrative they were spinning in the media.
In 2018, she won a major victory on behalf of a dozen tenants in South Los Angeles facing homelessness after a transitional housing manager took their money, failed to pay rent, and abandoned the property. Through her advocacy for the victims, she was able to get them relocation assistance as well as call attention to a new practice taking place in Los Angeles where low-income renters are being taken advantage of with rent-a-room scams.
Most recently, Cannick through her reporting and advocacy, went after Democratic major donor Ed Buck after two men died in his apartment of meth overdoses and countless other Black gay men came forward about the white man in West Hollywood who had a Tuskeegee Experiment like fetish that included injecting young Black men with meth. Ed Buck was finally arrested in September 2019 and charged in the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean. He is awaiting trial.
Covering Ed BuckEdit
Cannick started tracking Democratic donor in 2017 after the crystal meth overdose death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore at Ed Buck's West Hollywood apartment. Originally asked to help Moore's mother by L.A. Weekly writer Dennis Romero, Cannick went on to start reporting on what she said was Moore's death was immediately classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the coroner. Nineteen days later after Moore's journal was publicly published by Cannick and appeared in news reports, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's homicide bureau opened an investigation.
After Cannick published Moore's journal, other young Black gay men come forward to her with photos, emails, and text messages recounting similar stories involving Buck and accusing him of being a sexual predator, kidnapping, forced drug use, injecting unconscious black gay men with crystal meth, filing false police reports to cover his crimes, coercion, pimping, and pandering.
55-year-old Timothy Dean died on January 7, 2019 of a crystal meth overdose in Buck's apartment.
Cannick continued to press for authorities to arrest Buck in the deaths of Moore and Dean.
Buck was arrested on September 17, 2019, and charged with three counts of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. He is accused of having injected a 37-year-old man, who overdosed but survived, with methamphetamine on September 11.
On September 19, 2019, a federal charge of "one count of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death" was added by the United States for the death of Gemmel Moore who died on July 27, 2017. That death had originally been ruled an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. On August 4, 2020, a federal grand jury charged Buck with four additional felonies, bringing the total number of federal charges to nine counts. Buck is currently scheduled to go to trial on January 19, 2021.
In 2020, Jasmyne decided to run for public office after she became disillusioned with the Democratic Party's silence on Ed Buck. She was elected to a four-year term on the Los Angeles County Democratic Party's County Central Committee representing the 53rd Assembly District. Cannick says she can now “hold the Party that she says gets the majority of Black’s votes, more accountable.” She is the first Black person to ever be elected to this office from the 53rd Assembly District which includes Downtown Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Koreatown, Hancock Park, and West Adams.
Covering the Los Angeles Police DepartmentEdit
Through her blog and media appearances Cannick has been highly critical of the Los Angeles Police Department and its Chief Charlie Beck. She raised questions about LAPD's purchase of a $6,000 quarterhorse from Chief Charlie Beck's daughter, an LAPD officer, and about Beck's alleged soft treatment of a sergeant who reportedly was dating her.
Cannick broke news that famed LAPD Det. Frank Lyga had been recorded telling a class of fellow law enforcement officers that when he looked back at his 1997 shooting of black cop Kevin Gaines, "I could have killed a whole truckload of them ... and would have been happily doing it." Lyga was working undercover that fateful day nearly 20 years ago, and Gaines was off-duty, when the two men became entangled in a deadly road-rage incident in North Hollywood. Lyga's fatal shooting of Gaines was determined by LAPD to have been justified. But it pulled at an ugly thread that led to the department's darkest hour, the Rampart scandal. Lyga subsequently left the LAPD in disgrace.
Later Cannick broke the story of how a former "shot caller" for the Mexican Mafia was the featured speaker at a book signing event in downtown Los Angeles that was arranged by the LAPD with taxpayer dollars for a private group of prominent business leaders and local law enforcement officials.
She has cultivated both a following and bevy of sources within the LAPD that has allowed her to break numerous stories of rampant corruption within the LAPD. Currently several officers and a commander are suing the City of Los Angeles after being accused by the department's administration of being her source.
While Cannick is critical of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and his leadership team, she is less critical of the rank-and-file whom she says are often only following the bad orders of their command staff. She is known for starting all of her blog posts regarding the LAPD with:
We're not against the police. We're not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
The L.A. Weekly named her the LAPD's Critic-in-Chief.
Film and televisionEdit
She was a producer on the pilot for Noah's Arc, a cable television dramedy about four black gay male friends living in Los Angeles which lasted two seasons. She is a co-producer of the award-winning documentary "41st & Central: The Untold Story of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party."
She is currently writing several scripts for film projects.
Cannick is an out lesbian. She lives in Los Angeles and is unmarried.
- "Out100: Authors and Journalists". Out.com. 2019-11-26. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
- "Former foster youth Jasmyne Cannick and actress Tiffany Haddish get computers to kids in foster care". FOX LA. 2020-08-06. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
- "What Happened in Ed Buck's Apartment". New York Times. 2020-09-16. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
- "Serial predator: L.A. writer has been sounding alarm on Ed Buck for over a year". NBC News. 2019-01-19. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
- "After Democratic Party's Silence on Death of Two Black Gay Men at Democratic Donor's Home, Jasmyne Cannick Won Her Election to their Board". LA Sentinel. 2020-03-12. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
- Rubin, Joel. "LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in the hot seat over horse deal". latimes.com.
- "Ex-LAPD Chief Flabbergasted Over Racially Charged Audio". NBC Southern California.
- "LAPD Fires Detective in Racially Charged Recording". NBC Southern California.
- Winton, Richard. "LAPD commander alleges retaliation after leak of agency's purchase of horse owned by chief's daughter". latimes.com.
- Romero, Dennis (2015-05-06). "Jasmyne Cannick's Blog Posts Are Catching LAPD at Its Worst". L.A. Weekly.