This Week on American Black Journal:

Poet Nikki Giovanni discusses her literary works and a new documentary about her life

A new documentary details the extraordinary life and career of African American poet Nikki Giovanni. The HBO original documentary, “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” premiered in January and is now available to stream. The film chronicles Giovanni’s rise to fame and the impact she’s had on American culture. Giovanni discussed the documentary during the Charles H. Wright Museum’s “The Wright Conversations” series on March 13. The museum will show the documentary for free on Sunday, March 24.  

As one of the nation’s most widely read poets, Giovanni has earned numerous awards throughout her career as a writer, including seven Image Awards from the N.A.A.C.P., the first Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, the Langston Hughes Medal for Poetry, and more. In 2005, Oprah Winfrey recognized Giovanni as one of 25 “Living Legends.” Giovanni continues to write and publish, with her latest collection “Make Me Rain,” released in October 2020.  

“American Black Journal” contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ sat down with Giovanni at The Wright Museum for a wide-ranging conversation about her life, career, literary works and plans for the future. Giovanni talks about how her career got off the ground after she convinced the famous Birdland Jazz Club in New York to host readings of her poems.

She also explains how her mother’s love of jazz-inspired many of her works and what led her to create her popular “Quilts” poem. Plus, Giovanni discusses the “Going to Mars” documentary about her life and talks about her fascination with outer space and the solar system. She closes out the interview by reading a poem from her book, “The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998.”

Eight-year-old Detroiter Rosie White goes viral for impersonations of Black icons, historical figures

An eight-year-old Detroit girl and her family have gained national attention for their videos celebrating Black icons. Robyn McKee, known to her online followers as Rosie White, creates videos impersonating well-known Black historical figures like Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X, and icons such as Tina Turner, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Her mother Kenya White and older sister A’Blesyn Davis, are also involved in making the videos. It started with Rosie’s impersonation of Rosa Parks, a video that gained over 500,000 views online. 

Inspired by a Black History Month assignment on Rosa Parks, Rosie’s journey began when she was just three years old. She memorized what was read to her about Rosa Parks. Soon after, her mother decided it was time for the world to see Rosie’s talents. Rosie has captured the attention of millions online, including celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and Michelle Obama. After reenacting a dinner scene from “The Color Purple,” Rosie and her family were invited to walk the purple carpet for the 2023 remake of the movie.

One Detroit contributor Daijah Moss joined Rosie and her family at their home to talk about the inspiration behind making videos celebrating Black history. 

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