MXO ‘The Arts Unplugged’: Poet Nikki Giovanni On BLM Using Their Power: ‘They’re Not Afraid To Be Themselves!’


Exclusive: Nikki Giovanni just released her latest collection, ‘Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose’ and shares her thoughts on the election, Black Lives Matter and growing older

Nikki Giovanni is one of the most world-renowned and celebrated poets, activists, and literary giants. A pioneer during the Black Arts Movement, her award-winning writings has permeated through the decades, lauding her as the ‘Poet of Black Revolution.’ Throughout her prolific career, the Fisk graduate has authored numerous poetry collections and children’s books. 

Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose’is her latest release. The newest collection of poetry is a cross-generational body of work and an extension of her past art as she speaks to the continued injustice in society, the current political climate, and what space a creative holds in these unprecedented times. It is a soul-stirring intimate portrait affirming that the five-time NAACP Image Award winner’s social impact is still unmatched. 

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Giovanni’s indelible mark as a cultural icon and the significant effects of her literary works is confirmation; she is an American voice that not only ignited a movement but inspired generations. 

Dontaira Terrell: What are your thoughts about the Trump administration alluding to voter fraud and creating a false narrative around the election results? 

Nikki Giovanni: I’m surprised, and any sane person has to be a little surprised he has tried to carry this on for so long. Everybody knows [Joe]Biden is the President-elect. He has won the election. If there’s voter fraud, the fraud is the vote for [President Donald] Trump and the people who fraudulently got him elected in 2016. They were trying to do the same thing now, but they were outplayed.

DT: What were your initial thoughts watching the results on election night? 

NG: I live in Virginia, and when our polls closed, I said, “Jesus does things in his own way and, as they say, ‘he will not come when you call him, but he will always come on time.’” So, I poured a glass of champagne because I knew Trump would be removed from office. 

I also knew the Black community and the Divine Nine were going to come through and do what they had to do. Vice President [Kamala]  Harris is an AKA, and we all make mistakes because everybody can’t be a Delta, and I understand that (laughs). 

DT: You have given voice to many issues, from racial injustice to the Middle Passage and politics. How do you feel about where we are, and what are your hopes for the future?

NG: I am incredibly proud of Black Lives Matter and the three Black women who founded the movement. I think this next generation is opening up their hearts in a different way. They’re not afraid to be themselves, and that’s incredibly wonderful. They’re not afraid of living their own life. I’m very proud, and I’m glad I lived long enough to see that they’re singing their own song. 

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