By Curtis Bunn
Urban News Service, A Division of Zenger

Nikki Giovanni is 74 years old now, a generation removed from the height of her poetic power. She remains fiery and talented and has a lot on her mind. The author of countless poems that center on love and civil rights, Giovanni wants a new president. Just as important to her, she said, is that the Black community exercises its right to vote. She spoke about a lot during an event honoring scholar and intellectual, W.E.B. DuBois, at Clark Atlanta University. However, it all came down to voting, which is not surprising considering her background.

Legendary poet, Nikki Govanni encourages the Black Vote In 2020 Election.

Giovanni is an icon because she penned powerful, self-affirming poems during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr., she is most famous for her first book, “Feeling Black, Black Talk” and most noted poem is “Nikki-Rosa,” which is a thoughtful remembrance of growing up in a loving African-American home near Cincinnati. She expanded her voice to speak out on injustices, earning the 2008 Black Enterprise Legacy Award, among countless other honors along the way. She calls herself  “an old lady,” but her commitment to Black people and equal rights persists. 

“I don’t care who you vote for,” said Giovanni.“Just vote because there’s not a person on that (debate) stage who hasn’t liked or done something. They all did something. . . against us but we must make sure they can’t silence us. 

“We must not go (vote) because we don’t like someone. Fannie Lou Hamer. Fannie Lou organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.. . She knew she could be killed. But they didn’t’ murder her. But they did pull her off the bus and beat her. They tried to scare her. I made a promise to myself that if I am a survivor, I will vote. Fannie Lou Hamer took a hell of a beating so I could vote, and so I will. . . and everyone else should, too.” 

She read from her just-written poem that she said she may call “2020” or “Vote.” It’s not a hug or a toy at Christmas.