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Saturday, 6 March 2021

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman says a security guard asked her to prove she lived in her LA apartment block because she looked 'suspicious'

 Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman has revealed she was followed home by a security guard who claimed she looked 'suspicious' as she said 'this is the reality of black girls'. 

Gorman, who became a household name following her moving reading of her poem 'The Hill We Climb' at Joe Biden's inauguration, opened up about the recent experience where she was racially profiled near her home in Los Angeles. 

The 22-year-old tweeted Friday that she had to prove to a security guard that she lived in her apartment complex by showing him her keys and buzzing herself in, as she added 'one day you're called an icon, the next day, a threat.'


In a follow-up tweet, the Harvard graduate then fired back that she is 'a threat' - but  to 'injustice, to inequality, to ignorance'. 

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman (pictured at Biden's inauguration) has revealed she was followed home by a security guard who claimed she looked 'suspicious' as she said 'this is the reality of black girls'

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman (pictured at Biden's inauguration) has revealed she was followed home by a security guard who claimed she looked 'suspicious' as she said 'this is the reality of black girls'

'A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because 'you look suspicious,'' she tweeted.

'I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building.'

Gorman said the guard finally left but offered 'no apology' for his accusatory behavior.

She did not specify the racial background of the security guard in any of her social media posts. 

She said the incident was indicative of the racial issues impacting people of color across America.


'This is the reality of black girls: One day you're called an icon, the next day, a threat,' she wrote - referencing the praise heaped on her following her viral performance at the inauguration versus the reality of living as a black woman. 

Gorman then added in another tweet that the guard was 'right' to feel she was a 'threat' because 'anyone who speaks the truth' is a 'danger to the powers that be.'

'In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance,' she tweeted.

'Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be.'

The 22-year-old tweeted Friday how she had to prove to a guard that she lived in her apartment complex saying 'one day you're called an icon, the next day, a threat'

The 22-year-old tweeted Friday how she had to prove to a guard that she lived in her apartment complex saying 'one day you're called an icon, the next day, a threat'

In a follow-up tweet, the Harvard graduate then fired back that she is 'a threat' - but to 'injustice, to inequality, to ignorance'

In a follow-up tweet, the Harvard graduate then fired back that she is 'a threat' - but to 'injustice, to inequality, to ignorance'

She also shared one of her own tweets from February 14 where she had blasted the 'contradictory society' for celebrating her literary achievements while other black people continue to face systemic police brutality. 

'We live in a contradictory society that can celebrate a black girl poet & also pepper spray a 9 yr old,' she wrote.  

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

Gorman was referring to a Washington Post article which said black girls and women were not being treated the same as Gorman. 

'People are just so blown away by her performance and the way in which she was able to capture the complexity of the American story on that huge platform,' writer Salamishah Tillet said, pointing to the shocking footage that surfaced of a 9-year-old black girl being pepper sprayed by cops in Rochester, New York, as she begged 'please don't do this to me' and 'it burns'.  

Since the inauguration, she has performed at the Super Bowl in February (pictured) and was signed by IMG Models, which represents supermodels including Joan Smalls

Since the inauguration, she has performed at the Super Bowl in February (pictured) and was signed by IMG Models, which represents supermodels including Joan Smalls

Amanda Gorman, 22, made history as the youngest inaugural poet in US history with her reading of her moving poem 'The Hill We Climb' at Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony

Amanda Gorman, 22, made history as the youngest inaugural poet in US history with her reading of her moving poem 'The Hill We Climb' at Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony

Youngest inaugural poet recites her piece 'The Hill We Climb'
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'There's a way in which the celebration of Amanda Gorman, from many people in America, it doesn't translate into the recognition or the seeing or the acknowledging of everyday black girls. 

'They're like completely different universes,' Tillet wrote. 

Gorman made history as the youngest inaugural poet in US history with her reading of the moving poem 'The Hill We Climb' at Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony.  

In the poem, Gorman spoke of her own background as a 'skinny black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother' as she called for unity.

She also spoke of the need to 'forge a union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man'. 

In the powerful piece she called for unity and strength, especially in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot just days earlier, saying: 'But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.' 

'So let us leave behind a country better than one we were left with,' she recited.   

Her emotive reading stole the show that day, going viral on social media.  

Since then, she has performed at the Super Bowl in February and was signed by IMG Models, which represents supermodels including Joan Smalls. 

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