“Everything I do is pretty direct . . . I always say what I believe . . . I like controversy . . . I’m a ’60s person . . .”
— Nikki Giovanni
Poet Nikki Giovanni, who recently nabbed her third NAACP Image Award for her book of poems titled Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, got gully on that ass [translation: slammed sacred cows] during her talk with students last Wednesday at South Carolina State University’s annual Awakening Lecture Series. During her speech, the beloved author took pot shots at a few luminaries including Tiger Woods and President George W. Bush.
“It’s embarrassing that we have a head of state that says, ‘I want to kill Saddam,’” said Giovanni of Bush. “That’s embarrassing! By any other standard, that’s mass murder. He’s a war criminal.”
Giovanni also expressed glee over Tiger Woods losing last week at the Masters golf tournament. She dissed the golf king for not supporting the protests by women’s rights’ leader Martha Burk who is demanding that women to be allowed to become members at the Augusta National Golf Club. The establishment currently has a “men-only” policy and club President Hootie Johnson says it will stay that way even after he’s dead and buried six feet under.
“That little Negro (Tiger) wants to act like, in 1990, people didn’t have to picket Augusta National for his kind to play golf,” she said, chastising the putt master. “No, Tiger, it was a private club [when African-Americans were not welcome] and people opened that door. You can’t make your mouth say, ‘Of course women should be admitted as members’? You have a $100 million contract going on and you can’t do that?
“But you see, he wanted to win his third jacket. That meant more to him than anything,” Giovanni continued. “So the left-handed boy from Canada, who had never won diddly-squat in his life, and never will again, came up and beat him. I was so glad!”
Professor Giovanni also talked about the late Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., and pondered on what MLK would be doing if he were alive today. “[Martin] would have braids, a pool cue with a mahogany case and a tattoo . . . something like ‘Freedom Now’ or ‘Go Vote’”,” she said, adding, “I have a tattoo, and mine says, ‘Thug Life.’”
[Editor's note: Holy shit, Nikki Giovanni – a thug poet? What's her next book going to be now – Get Poetic or Die Writing?]
Finally, the thug poetess encouraged students to find their destiny in life and go on a self-imposed journey of self-discovery. “You can’t just sit around and let people tell you any damn thing,” she said. “The only person who needs to discover you is – you.”