She was born Yolanda Cornelia Giovanni, Jr. on June 7, 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee. At the age of six she was nicknamed Nikki by her maternal grandmother, Louvenia with whom she lived. Over the past 30 years, Nikki Giovanni’s outspokenness in her writing and through her speeches has brought the eyes of the world upon her. She is the author of more than a dozen books and has received 19 honorary doctorate degrees.

Books like Racism 101, exhibit the bold, unapologetic flavor of this great American poet. Poems such as Ego Tripping, My House and Black Talk/Black Judgment, underscore her relentless pursuit of equality as well as the need for individuals to define themselves and edsocer their own power. Her awards are too numerous to list but they include two NAACP’s Image Awards, Ebony Women of hte Year (1970) and Madamoiselle’s Woman of the Year (1971).

A highly sought after speaker and commentator, her voice has spanned the spectrum- from CNN all the way to HBO’s/Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry series. Now, a distinguished professor at Virginia Tech University, Nikki still tours the country speaking her mind, kicking ass, taking notes, and reminding us all that the struggle is still alive and that we can make a difference

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