Finding Our Voices through Nikki Giovanni
By Jasmine Stewart
Bowie State University had the honor of hosting world-renowned poet and author Nikki Giovanni on March 14 for a workshop and lecture series. The Global Women’s Initiative lecture series, presented by the Department of English and Modern Languages and Feathers of Ma’at, provided Bowie State with the opportunity to acknowledge women who have strived for excellence beyond their backgrounds and harsh pasts.
Giovanni came and worked with students from Ms. Connie Jones’ sixth-grade class at Robert Goddard Montessori School. Giovanni was visibly joyous as students presented her work. One student read her very touching poem that nearly moved Giovanni to tears as the young girl used her trademark vivid verbs and adjectives to describe how much she loves her brother despite his battles with autism.
Discussion of how the Black Arts inspired hip hop music, and why it is relevant to use such arts to allow children to express themselves effectively.
In the afternoon session, Giovanni held nothing back as she described the stories and life situations behind a small selection of her work. The story of how she mourned her mother and sister’s death led to her most recent work “Chasing Utopia” a collection of poems that show her depression and then peace with the great loss she experienced.
Giovanni’s presence brought warmth and a fun dose of attitude. Her passion for her art and the world is what brought so many out to hear her words that are uncut and raw. Her opinions on the state of the middle class and the values of being well-traveled as a young adult, appeared to speak to the hearts of many in the crowd. Several in the audience said that Giovanni’s appearance was truly an eye-opening experience.