Name: Nikki Giovanni
Basics: A phenomenal poet, early in her career she was dubbed the “Princess of Black Poetry”. The author of 30 plus books for adults and children, Giovanni has a long, storied career. Her autobiography was a finalist for the National Book Award. She was named one of Oprah’s 25 “Living Legends”. Giovanni’s spoken word poetry has also received numerous accolades including a Grammy nomination. Currently, she is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.
Why I Chose Her: I’m a writer and it really doesn’t get any better than Nikki Giovanni. She’s creative, funny, powerful and honest. I think that last trait is the most important one and something we all need to hold on to and remember. Honesty, true and unabashed, has to be practiced no matter our station in life. A public spotlight is a harsh one and sometimes it’s easy to see why people might refrain from giving their complete truth. Giovanni doesn’t do that. A spade is a spade no matter what microphone is in her face and that’s a tenacity we should all admire.