From the Producer Fran Harris:

“. . .and I hope no white person ever has cause to write about me ’cause they never understand Black love is Black wealth. And they’ll probably talk about my hard childhood and never understand that all the while, I was quite happy.” – Nikki Giovanni, from Nikki-Rosa

I was six years old when i heard those words piping out of my brother’s record player. I heard it no less than four times a week in my house growing up in Dallas, Texas. She was the first person I’d heard “rap” under music. “Nikki Rosa” was recited under a gospel track, which explains why it also got play in my house on Sunday mornings as well.

In 2000, my sister sent me a scratchy, self-recorded cassette dub of the album “Truth Is On Its Way”, Nikki’s first album with the New York Community Choir. A week later I searched the Internet and found several of her CDs from back in the day. I swiftly ordered them and when they arrived I was so moved by hearing these recordings again that I could hardly sit still. I couldn’t sleep. Something had awakened inside me.

Amazingly, I still knew every single word to every single track even though I hadn’t heard the album in over 20 years. Every single word.

I’d recently started my own production company and decided that in my directorial debut that I’d do something with “Nikki”. I didn’t know what it would be but I knew it would change lives. That’s the kind of impact Nikki Giovanni has on you.

Two weeks and 20 auditions later, I was ready to stage my production, “A Night With Nikki”, based on some of Nikki’s writing from the ’70s. Three black women and three white women would comprise my jewel ensemble cast.

For thre weekends straight we played to a packed coffeehouse of men and women of all ages, races and backgrounds. Three months later, Nikki would speak at my alma mater and the seed would be planted for this documentary.

In her campus speech she would say something that proved prophetic, “When Fran asked me for permission to reprise my work in stage form, I said yes, because I’ve found that it’s generally a good idea to say yes more than no.”

During the first week of September 2003, with my heart pounding like I’d run a marathon, I called Virginia Tech University and left a message on Nikki’s voice-mail, asking her if she’d be willing to work with me on a documentary about her life. Within hours she called back enthusiastically. “Hey Fran, this is Nikki Giovanni. Yeah, I’d love to hear your ideas for doing a documentary . . .”

And here we are . .