Inauguration Poet Amanda Gorman Explains Her Mantra Before Every Performance

The 22-year-old phenom is now a household name.

If you didn’t know Amanda Gorman’s name before yesterday’s Biden-Harris inauguration, you certainly do now. The 22-year-old Harvard grad reading her poem  "The Hill We Climb” was one of the most talked about moments of the day and will certainly go down in history. 

How did she deliver such an exquisite performance in front of millions of people across the world during such a tense moment in history? During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gorman explained she has a mantra she repeats before every performance, “I am the daughter of Black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke through chains and changed the world. They call me.”

Cooper was so impressed, he just said, “Wow. You’re awesome.”
Watch the interview below:

RELATED: Biden Inauguration Will Feature National ‘Virtual Parade’

Gorman, whose books have skyrocketed to number one on Amazon, also opened up to The Washington Post about her first political moment, which was her mother reading her Miranda Rights. 

“When I was really young my mother would read me my Miranda Rights and make sure I knew them. My mom was not playing around,” Gorman said.

She continued, “When you are a Black child growing up in America, our parents have to have what’s called ‘the talk’ with us. Except it’s not about the birds and the bees and our changing bodies, it’s about the potential destruction of our bodies.”

Gorman also revealed Biden’s team gave her “complete freedom about what to write.”

According to the Associated Press, Gorman was contacted in late December by the Biden inauguration committee. Officials informed her that she’d been recommended by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

However, Gorman already has an impressive resume as a poet. 

In 2014, she became the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and three years later was named the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. 

Gorman was previously invited to the Obama White House and has been asked to perform for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Malala Yousafzai, according to her website.

Gorman also told Good Morning America today that she idolizes the late Dr. Maya Angelou, another inauguration poet. Dr. Angelou would certainly be proud.

Watch Amanda Gorman read “The Hill We Climb” at the Biden-Harris inauguration, below: 


Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.