Just as expected, the inauguration ceremony of US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday was attended by Billboard A-listers like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. They came, they owned and they went away.
However, when young Amanda Gorman took to the microphone to read the poem called The Hill We Climb, the raised eyebrows turned to inquisitive glances -- who is she? That lady in yellow coat, red headband and statement hoop earrings.
The 22-year-old is America's first National Youth Poet Laureate. Gorman became the youngest poet ever to deliver a poem recitation for the US President at the inaugural ceremony. The post inauguration press coverage for a change threw some spotlight on the right talent.
Amanda is a Los Angeles-born writer, performer and activist who studied sociology at Harvard and became America's national youth poet laureate in 2017.
The subjects of her work range from substantial social issues like oppression, feminism, racial discrimination and marginalisation. Being raised by her mother, a middle school teacher, and grown up with her two siblings, Amanda has since early days had an interest in social issues. She was inspired by a speech once given by Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize Laureate 2013 Malala Yousafzai.
She had once said in an interview given to The New York Times that she intends to run for Presidential election in 2036. That Hill, we're sure she'll climb too.
Amidst all the fanfare and curiosity that the young poet is garnering, there is no dearth of a couple of remarks on her race. "Would you be asking this if she were white?" questioned a user provoking others into the thought. There are always two kinds of people; those who like poems and those who never understand them. Commented another one, "Am not a big fan of poems but I find this one uniquely moving, well done young lady."
A few excerpts from The Hill We Climb...
In an interview she gave to the Los Angeles Times ahead of her performance at the inauguration which was themed America United, she said, "America is messy. It's still in its early development of all that we can become. And I have to recognise that in the poem. I can't ignore that or erase it. And so, I crafted an inaugural poem that recognises these scars and these wounds."
When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
We've braved the belly of the beast
we've learned that quiet isn't always peace.
And the norms and notions of what just is
Isn't always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken
but simply unfinished.