From icon to threat isn’t the title of Amanda Gorman’s latest poem. But it could be.
Instead, Gorman tweeted it’s the reality for Black girls after she says she was racially profiled on her way home Friday (March 5) night.
“A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight,” she tweeted. “He demanded if I lived there because “you look suspicious.” I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology.”
The 22-year-old LA native burst onto the national spotlight immediately after reciting her rousing poem “The Hills We Climb” at the 2021 presidential inauguration. Within a matter of weeks, Gorman landed a modeling deal with IMG, performed another poem at the Super Bowl and was placed on the cover of Time magazine.
Her recent rise to fame and popularity, however, wasn’t enough to stop a security guard from profiling her in her own neighborhood.
“In a sense, he was right,” Gorman later tweeted. “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.”
Gorman’s sister, Gabrielle, said she was “disturbed” by the incident but “glad” Amanda shared her experience. “We’ve watched it happen to our mother, and we’ve watched it happen to our grandma,” she wrote on Instagram. “This is the reality that we’ve grown up with and it’s on all of us to fight for a world where black girls can leave the house and not have to worry about being racially and/or sexually targeted & assaulted.”
The youngest inaugural poet has two books set to be released in September, The Hills We Climb and Other Poems, and Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem. At this time, it’s unclear whether the security guard will face any disciplinary actions.