AmandaGormanWorld News

Amanda Gorman: US poet says security guard labelled her ‘suspicious’

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image captionGorman was the youngest poet to ever perform at a presidential inauguration

Amanda Gorman, the young poet who found global fame after performing at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, has shared her experience of alleged racial profiling by a security guard.

The 22-year-old said on Twitter that she was accosted on a walk home on Friday and told “you look suspicious”.

“This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat,” she wrote.

Gorman received widespread acclaim for her reading of The Hill We Climb.

Her poem was seen as a rousing and timely call for national unity – delivered at the US Capitol just weeks after it was the scene of deadly riots.

Tweeting about her experience, Gorman described being “tailed” by the security guard who she said offered no apology after she was able to prove she lived in her own apartment building.

A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because “you look suspicious.” I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology. This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat. https://t.co/MmANtQqpBs

— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) March 6, 2021

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

In revealing her experience, she re-shared a post she made in February which said: “We live in a contradictory society that can celebrate a black girl poet & also pepper spray a 9 yr old” – in reference to a recent incident in Rochester, New York.

“Yes see me, but also see all other black girls who’ve been made invisible. I can not, will not, rise alone.”

In a second tweet about the incident, Gorman added: “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance.”

In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be. https://t.co/hY9miR0b6J

— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) March 6, 2021

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The BBC has contacted her for further comment.

Gorman’s social media posts have been widely shared – highlighted as an example of the everyday prejudice faced by black people in the US.

“Let this story sink in,” Mark Keam, a state legislator in Virginia, tweeted. “And realise how – while I’m glad it ended safe for @TheAmandaGorman – this type of confrontation is an every day occurrence for millions of our fellow Americans.”

In her inauguration poem, Gorman described herself as “a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother [who] can dream of becoming president, only to find her self reciting for one”.

media captionThe Hill We Climb: Watch 22-year-old Amanda Gorman’s poem reading at the inauguration

Born in Los Angeles in 1998, Gorman became the city’s youth poet laureate at 16. Three years later, while studying sociology at Harvard, she was named the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate.

She was the youngest poet to ever perform at a presidential inauguration and her performance was praised by influential national figures, including former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.

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