Interviews of Famous People Series: Professor Nikki Giovanni

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Dr. Giovanni speaks to Kennesaw State University about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nikki Giovanni Asks for a Major Motion Picture for MLK, Junior

As Kennesaw State University joins the rest of the nation to mark another deserved birthday celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, it welcomed the world renowned poet, Professor Nikki Giovanni, as its keynote speaker. In her inaugural visit to KSU, Giovanni posed a question worthy of deep consideration.

“Why has there not been a major motion picture in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Hollywood has made movies about drug dealers and criminals, Capone, Dillinger, and so on. You have to wonder why Martin has no movie in his honor,” the bold and critically acclaimed Giovanni demanded during the 2012 annual observance on Monday, January 16.

Forty-four years after his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr., is yet to earn a big-screen, sole-title movie right as Malcolm X and numerous other black history makers and heavyweights.

In an unpredictable mixture of history lecture, entertainment, chastisement, and religious sermon, Giovanni kept up a stream of surprising influx that kept attendees laughing hilariously and continually. Without warning, she sent them bristling from her criticisms and feeling grateful for uncountable legacies at the same time.

A distinguished professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University—Virginia Tech–since 1987, Giovanni sneaked in another title to numerous others (mother, writer, poet, commentator, and activist), that of a comedienne, as she caused riotous laughter to erupt smoothly and repeatedly.

The “Princess of Black Poetry” recanted childhood stories of her grandmother’s link to Civil Rights legends such as Rosa Parks, E.D. Nixon (who bailed Parks out of jail), and MLK, Jr. She reminded us of a very painful fact: “We lost Martin too early. He was just 39.” Ironically, Giovanni’s writing career was born in the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination.

Giovanni recited a very moving tribute to “the incomparable Martin” from her poetry collection, Acolyte. “In the Spirit of Martin,” demanded “the world to see what they did to my boy.” It traveled through civil rights cities and envisioned a present-day Martin, “the voice of his people,” wearing a tattoo and with braided hair.

One of Oprah Winfrey’s twenty-five “Living Legends,” Giovanni uplifted the mixed-race audience by urging Caucasian female writers and historians to tell the story of the frontier woman whose courage in the face of insurmountable danger has not begun to be told yet.

Georgia’s third largest university, Kennesaw State honored the woman who came to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., with a medley of orchestrated events such as songs by the KSU Gospel Choir, a rendition of the “Black National Anthem,” and remarks by President Daniel S. Papp.

A 30-minute book-signing session followed Giovanni’s speech, but the long line that curved inside the Student Center kept the famous poet signing books all evening and taking pictures. She had a smile for each adoring fan and did not show any sign of fatigue.

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Nikki Giovanni Asks for a Major Motion Picture for MLK, Junior

As Kennesaw State University joins the rest of the nation to mark another deserved birthday celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, it welcomed the world-renowned poet, Nikki Giovanni, as its keynote speaker. In her inaugural visit to KSU, Giovanni posed a question worthy of deep consideration.

“Why has there not been a major motion picture in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Hollywood has made movies about drug dealers and criminals, Capone, Dillinger, and so on. You have to wonder why Martin has no movie in his honor,” the bold and critically acclaimed Giovanni demanded during the 2012 annual observance on Monday, January 16.

Forty-four years after his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr., is yet to earn a big-screen, sole-title movie right as Malcolm X and numerous other black history makers and heavyweights.

In an unpredictable mixture of history lecture, entertainment, chastisement, and religious sermon, Giovanni kept up a stream of surprising influx that kept attendees laughing hilariously and continually. Without warning, she sent them bristling from her criticisms and feeling grateful for uncountable legacies at the same time.

A distinguished professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University-Virginia Tech–since 1987, Giovanni sneaked in another title to numerous others (mother, writer, poet, commentator, and activist), that of a comedienne, as she caused riotous laughter to erupt smoothly and repeatedly.

The “Princess of Black Poetry” recanted childhood stories of her grandmother’s link to Civil Rights legends such as Rosa Parks, E.D. Nixon (who bailed Parks out of jail), and MLK, Jr. She reminded us of a very painful fact: “We lost Martin too early. He was just 39.” Ironically, Giovanni’s writing career was born in the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination.

Giovanni recited a very moving tribute to “the incomparable Martin” from her poetry collection, Acolyte.

In the Spirit of Martin,” demanded “the world to see what they did to my boy.” It traveled through civil rights cities and envisioned a present-day Martin, “the voice of his people,” wearing a tattoo and with braided hair.

One of Oprah Winfrey’s twenty-five “Living Legends,” Giovanni uplifted the mixed-race audience by urging Caucasian female writers and historians to tell the story of the frontier woman whose courage in the face of insurmountable danger has not begun to be told yet.

Georgia’s third largest university, Kennesaw State honored the woman who came to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., with a medley of orchestrated events such as songs by the KSU Gospel Choir, a rendition of the “Black National Anthem,” and remarks by President Daniel S. Papp.

The Queen of Free Hounds Happenings Around Town

In case you have not heard, I am the Queen of Free. I love free things: air, water, concerts, movies, healthy food, books, and so on. As long as I do not have to work unnecessarily hard for it, (and realizing that some things do come with a price–purportedly free), I am all the more enthusiastic for it.

In search of an attempt to brand myself, I will start with the official title, Queen of Free,” and I will try to locate free intellectually rewarding, journalistically uplifting, financially informative and gifting, and therapeutically relaxing things (for the mind and the body) in and around ATL. I realize that trying to pry free things from companies and organizations in our current economic upheaval will be as difficult as trying to squeeze a drop of water from a basket of dry laundry, but I am going to try my hardest.

With the Christmas season showing us its back, some songs are still fresh in my head. One particular song’s chants repeat: “Do you hear what I hear?” and “Do you know what I know?”

What I heard and what I know is that the one and only true Princess of Black Poetry, Ms. Nikki Giovanni, is coming to Kennesaw State University in the flesh! She is not charging me a dime for her billion-dollar presence.

Are you ready for The Next Boom? Attend this free event and get a free e-book. In case you were not counting, I used the word “free” twice in one sentence.

While you are at the Georgia State University’s site, look up another free event, Bill Kahnweiler’s cutting-edge research on non-profit. As you know, non-profit seems to be the only branch of our economy that appears more stable than most.

There are some other important happenings around town, but they involve you reaching into your purse or wallet.

Georgia Writers’ Association workshop on 1/14/2012:

Atlanta SoCon12 on February 3 – 4, 2012, will undoubtedly offer insightful takeaways for everyone – from small business owners and journalists to CEOs and marketing professionals.

Phenomenal Women’s Conference: March 23, 2012, at Kennesaw State University.