How Nikki and Nina continue to inspire us

By August 6, 2016Features

When I find myself overwhelmed with the world, I read poetry. Stanzas have a peaceful quality. Poems remind me that words can be concise without Twitter’s 140 character limit. Without question, my favorite poet is Nikki Giovanni. She was recently interviewed about her relationship with the legendary musician Nina Simone. Can you imagine these two visionary women laughing together? Nikki and Nina — sitting in the same room writing soon-to-be poems and songs.

According to Giovanni, “If Nina were here, she’d have her Black Lives Matter [T-shirt] on.” I agree. She’d protest right beside young men and women in streets. Her powerful voice would sing the words, “Say her name”. Nina would mourn the deaths of Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Korryn Gaines and the countless others who have fallen victim to police violence. We must speak the names of Black women that are no longer with us — continuously affirming their existence.

I am seeking out Nikki’s words and Nina’s music because I am protecting myself from society’s aggressions. I don’t want to be numb to the losses around me.

#SayHerName is a testament to the necessity, and the power, of solidarity. Remind the world that our stories – in life and death – give birth to resilience. Because together we can overcome so much more.

  • “There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” – Nikki Giovanni 
  • “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde
  • “Miracles happen all the time. We’re here, aren’t we?” – Marilyn Nelson
  • “As I am a poet I express what I believe, and I fight against whatever I oppose, in poetry.” – June Jordan
  • “Poetry is life distilled.” – Gwendolyn Brooks

Author Glory Edim

Founder of Well-Read Black Girl

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