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Nikki Giovanni's Truth-telling

February 28th I attended Nikki Giovanni’s “Truth-telling and the Need for Poetry: from the Harlem Renaissance to hip hop. She was announced as being a woman who has been presenting truth on issues of racism for 40 years. The introduction was quite impressive, and since I had only read a few of her poems in the past, I was excited to learn more about her.
What Nikki Giovanni says about…

Fame: She is hysterically funny. Posing, and poking fun of famous personalities with their lies, obsession with the physical, and fakeness. She obviously was not speaking about every famous person, but what fame tends to do to someone if they are not careful. It seems as if she has really focused on staying true to who she is and not conforming to what is reviewed about her. She was very charismatic, but blunt. She was rarely politically correct. For someone to be speaking in front of an entire room of admirers and not watching what she said or tripping over how to sound most eloquent showed me exactly why she has so many admirers, and possibly why her words are so effective.

James Tate: Apparently, the infamous bus driver of Rosa Parks had recently died. Giovanni was mobbed by “bored? news journalists to see what her reaction would be. Her reply, “Another one bites the dust.? When Mrs. Tate heard this news she explained that ‘Mr. Tate was a man of his time.? Giovanni then proceeded to thank God that Rosa Parks had not been a woman of her time.

Rosa Parks: Giovanni read a children’s book that she had just won an award for. It was based on the true day Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, as opposed to how the history is told in text books. Rosa Parks normally did not take the bus. She had to that day because her mother was ill, so she had to make the breakfast and get her children ready for school that morning before she went to work. Because they only had one car, her husband would have been late for work had he waited for her. “Husbands sometimes do that. We get used to it,? Giovanni said of his actions. At first I was disappointed that she would act so nonchalantly about gendered household powers, but I realize, that she was close friends with the Parks and she was still speaking the truth. She made me think, and maybe that was all she was trying to do with that statement.
Giovanni relates the rest of Rosa Parks’ day in a way that keeps Parks from sounding like a character. Sometimes it is difficult to remember how one person can influence so many others. Keeping Rosa Parks a true person who worked hard, had a family to take care of, and a personality, gives me personal strength.
Another reason why everyone should go and buy this book (ha) is that any book that will positively affect a child should be supported. I nanny and PCA for children of a few families and it’s amazing the crap-ass books that I do not want to read to them. Socialization starts young, from the day someone is born. Reading the Rosa Parks story to children can teach them about strong, individuals who are not always portrayed as being so.

Condeleeza Rice: “Crazy old bitch. Rosa Parks’ casket moved when she [Rice] touched it.?

Then Giovanni read some of her poetry. I can not even attempt to describe them or relate them to you. That would not do them justice; however, I found one on the internet:

Nikki-Rosa
childhood rememberances are always a drag
if you're Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have
your mother
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbeque in
and somehow when you talk about home
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings
as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale
and even though you remember
your biographers never understand
your father's pain as he sells his stock
and another dream goes
And though your're poor it isn't poverty that
concerns you
and though they fought a lot
it isn't your father's drinking that makes any difference
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good
Christmasses
and I really hope no white person everhas cause
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they'll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy
Then it was time to ask Nikki Giovanni some questions.
Q: What should young rappers read to be better.
A: Sister Soldier, Tony Lawrence, Langston Hughs. “If we want the young to listen, we must listen to them.? She also went on to say that the hip hop world does not need to change, they need to mature.
Q: Why is “Thug Life? written on your forearm?
A: Mourning 2pac

I guess that I enjoyed Nikki Giovanni speak so much, that I wanted all of you to be able to get a glimpse of what I did. Her bluntness, and tell-it-like-it-is attitude was so refreshing, I could not refrain from relating her words to you.

Comments

I absolutley love all of nikki giovannis poetry so i would liketo post a web page for her.

You really allow it to be seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually a thing that I think I'd never understand.