The young black poet made internationally famous by her recital during the inauguration of Joe Biden says she was followed home by a security guard because she looked “suspicious”.
Amanda Gorman, who was the US’s first National Youth Poet Laureate and was widely praised for her performance in January, says she was regarded as a “threat” because she is black.
She told her 1.5 million Twitter followers: “A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because ‘you look suspicious.’
A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because “you look suspicious.” I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology. This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat. https://t.co/MmANtQqpBs
— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) March 6, 2021
“I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology. This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat.”
The identity of the security guard is unknown.
The 22-year-old from Los Angeles, who garnered worldwide attention due to her starring role in the presidential inauguration ceremony, also performed before the start of the Super Bowl, last month.
At the point she posted the tweet, she also reposted an earlier tweet referring to a Washington Post profile of her, in which she said: “Yes see me, but also see all other black girls who’ve been made invisible. I can not, will not, rise alone.”
She then went on to reflect on her earlier post, admitting she was in a way a threat – but to the “powers that be”.
The former Harvard University student added: “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be.”
Gorman told NBC after her inauguration performance she felt an “enormous responsibility” to reflect on the violent US Capitol riots in the six-minute poem she spoke at the event.
After the ceremony, she topped Amazon’s best seller list for her debut poetry collection.
Her poem The Hill We Climb referenced everything from Biblical scripture to Hamilton, and at times echoed the oratory of John F Kennedy and the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.
She has said she plans to run for president herself in 2036 and in the poem described herself as “a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother [who] can dream of becoming president, only to find her self reciting for one”.