Published on February 14th, 2017 | by John Magee0
Nikki Giovanni Speaks at FSC
This year’s lecture series will focus on why the arts are important. The night started with an introduction to the lecture series from Dr. Brad Hollingshead, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.
“Imagination is the core of art in the way critical thinking is of science,” Hollingshead said. “In the same way last year’s speakers taught us that science is as much about imagination as critical thinking, art is as much about critical thinking as it is imagination.”
Before Giovanni even arrived at the podium she was met with a standing ovation, just the first of three she would receive throughout the night. Giovanni’s talk was advertised as a night of poetry, love, and enlightenment; however from the audience it seemed more like a night at a comedy club.
This style of telling jokes and speaking so freely resonated very well with the audience. One of those audience members was Vice President of FSC’s Multicultural Student Council Derrick Jean-Baptiste.
Jean-Baptiste felt that because spoken word poetry is so similar to stand-up comedy, this style of presenting spoke the truest to Giovanni.
“Don’t you know the Patriots cheated,” Giovanni said followed by an uproar of laughter. “That ball hit the ground.”
From football to slavery, from Viagra commercials to growing up in segregated Tennessee, Giovanni constantly mixed humour with much heavier topics.
Giovanni also talked about the inspiration behind some of her poems, one such example was her poem Deal or No Deal (for ENGL 4714 CRN 16937). After reading the poem, Giovanni explained that she wrote it to her English class because they had told her she shouldn’t go on Deal or No Deal at the risk of making a fool out of herself.
“If the first time I make a fool out of myself is on Deal or No Deal, I have led a truly blessed life,” Giovanni said.
After her talk, Giovanni had a Q & A where she was asked what she was most proud of.
“What I am most proud of is that my grandmother, if she were still here today, would say you did your job,” Giovanni said.
The next speaker in the Child of the Sun lecture series will be Mira Nair, who will be speaking on March 14.