For certain poets and writers, there is the becoming of words. Others read and write them. Some perform them. Nevertheless, there is a way of certain poets, where they become the breathing element of words. Its not easy to embody entrapped, blackened ink on paper, and live them, as if they are truly, alive! However, if you live them well, words truly become, alive!
Moving into the spacing of poetry, and the healing elixir of such words, we venture into a unique lens and travel, through the work of living legend-NIKKI GIOVANNI! She is celebrated for being a poet, writer, commentator, educator, and activist. Simultaneously, she is also known as being one of the most well-known Black American writers, for the national and international lenses. We know Nikki Giovanni as one of the creators of the Black Arts Movement, during the latter part of the 1960’s era. Such is part of that realm. The list of her accomplishments grows and moves throughout different generations and capturing of time. Her poetry album, The Nikki Giovanni Collection, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Be ever reminded of her friendship with James Baldwin, and her addressing of gender into the realm of Black American societal analysis and politics. To demand that femininity be introduced into the equation, within the Black American collective, was more than revolutionary. Her appearance on the television show, Soul! was more than discussions on Black American artistry. On the contrary, it was the vigilance of one feminine image from our community, and the embodiment of, art. Again, our words, our art was healer. It was a powerful demonstration that art is vigilant for all to see. And across any culture, nation, and community of people, art is the movement for beautifying social change and progression.
We can go through all of the honors, distinguished awards, and honorary degrees received by our Beloved, Nikki Giovanni. Awards in honor of former legends, such as the NAACP Image Award, the Rosa L. Parks Women Of Courage Award, the Langston Hughes Award For Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, and others. We can go highlight her being a lifetime member into the National Council of Negro Women and as an Honorary Of Delta Sigma. Her countless works and well-noted poems, such as “Ego-Tripping” are part of her particular coloring for Black American cultures and people. However, that is for another article. For this particular theme, we are analyzing and connecting a specific passion of Nikki Giovanni, and her intertwining with Universal spacing and aesthetics. Her connection to spiritual travel, while connecting with the Earthly. For her Earthly travels, there will be a special highlight of her travels to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and her sacred tenderness with sea turtles. Now, that’s a travel tale many of us have yet to hear. Yet, for the articulation of this piece, you will hear it. And you will hear it, very well!
Documentation has featured Nikki Giovanni utilizing her writing skills, when traveling to distant lands. On certain tours and speaking engagements abroad, she was moved towards intertwining the realms of oppression. Such activities create a different interpretation on prominent notions, and expectations, for Black American travel narratives. On another scale, we are discussing how Nikki Giovanni is utilizing the lessons learned, from struggle within her own community to spread to others. In a terse amount of words, there is medicine from the trials and tribulations of Black American people. Through her travels, she is sharing that medicine with other groups, who have been in the midst of their own struggles. Furthermore, in this particular lens of travel progress and wellness, she is also learning from other cultures; seeing their stories and observing how they navigate injustice within their own lands. Do you see? One of her travel stories, is that of travel exchange. That was her form of travel activism, and it is too, a form of travel wellness.
Simultaneously, allow ourselves to move into another realm of travel fantasy and reality. One of those particular forms of literary space travels was her literary piece, “Space.” Listening to this unusual telling, one is captivated by the imagination and wit, in her travels to the Universal travel. There is excitement and adventure into her voice. In fact, outer space feels familiar. It feels human. And those space creatures feel relatable. Outer space, and those Universal mysteries of wonder, are actually the very epitome of human genius. The greatest minds have taken mental travels into space. They have gone through that phenomenon of imagination, into another world. It is done with such elegance and grace, that a reader, or audience, can feel as if they are floating through the Universe, and navigating the complexities of Universal timing.
In delving further into Nikki Giovanni’s conveying of space, it was additional affirmation in understanding prior, Black American travel engagements. In an article, published about her work, and the encouragement for Black American children to go into the professions of space, there was something so profound, that she articulated. In one October 30, 2017 article of www.salon.com, Nikki Giovanni highlights space, with Black American people’s past her/history to the Middle Passage. “There’s nobody more available for space than those of us whose ancestors came over in the Middle Passage, because space is Middle Passage,” she said. Putting that together, it becomes more obvious why certain Black American literary Sheroes and Heroes, incorporated science-fiction into their work. The only difference is that it prioritized the painting of Black American people, within it. Furthermore, it is added confirmation for Black American people in having returned to Blackness, in order to re-create anew in a foreign land; thereby, making the foreign, familiar. Perhaps, our movement through the Middle Passage was a foreshadowing, into where we would have to return, in order to preserve our existence, in a strange land. There is nothing “debatable” about this. It stands, as is. You will not “theorize” it for a thesis. It stands, as it is. Period. End of discussion. On another journey, one is pressed to understand how euphoric the vibes may be. It may be scary. Initially, it may not know how they will get it. However, reality sets in, and the decision of survival mandates your creativity.
Moving forward into another travel tale, Giovanni provides us with incite into how she uses her presence to bless another land. Again, forget about the tales of fleeing and being a “refugee” into another land. In a March 16, 2015 piece, Giovanni is described as visiting the coastal city of Zihuatanejo, in Mexico. Her frequent travels there have occurred due to her passion for baby sea turtles. She is providing nourishment to another part of Earth’s paradise. “For years, she’s been traveling to Zihuatanejo, on the Mexican coast, to join volunteers protecting baby sea turtles, as they hatch on the sand and make their way into the ocean,” writes Sandy Banks– columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Giovanni’s fascination and passion for sea turtles is wonderful. What makes it so? And, how do we connect it to her literature? (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-banks-nikki)
In Mexico, sea turtles clearly have a sacred presence. An article from Mexperience highlights the frequency of seven different species of sea turtles on Mexico’s beaches. “
“Although sea turtles live most of their lives at sea (and mate at sea) the females must return to land to lay their eggs. One of the wonderful (and mysterious) aspects of these beautiful creatures is that the females return to the precise location, where they themselves were born to lay their own eggs. It is thought they are sensitive to, and use, the Earth’s magnetic field, as a means of navigation.”MExperience
It means that these sea turtles are connected to a higher level-a deeper level-to Earth’s radiance, abundance, and optimal spaces for re-birth. These animals, are one of the creatures, who are aware of a greater energy directing their path on Earth. Two major areas from where these magical sea turtles rest, and come on shore, are the Baja California Sur and the Yucatan Peninsula. (Source: https://waterseeturtles.org/Mexico) Could it be that whispers of the Middle Passage lay around? Could it also be that when female sea turtles return to the same spot, as the mothers before them, they symbolize an element of spiritual re-birth? Going to a similar spot-having memory of that spot, and placating one’s continuation of life, there. Is it something about Nikki Giovanni, her understanding of space, and conceptualization of time and memory, which secretly attracts her to these Beings? What does this articulate concerning her spiritual journey, and a turtle’s timing? What is it about the ancients, who understood the sacred Being of turtles, and their navigation of the Earth’s soiling?
There is more to write upon such a travel tale. These are one of the spiritual and sacred tales of Black American aesthetics, which must be illuminated, and acknowledged. In this particular narrative, there is, again, the spreading of wellness. One is traveling to seek knowledge. One voyages to another land, so to capture a previous tale. Like water, the Universe is everflowing. We often discuss Earthly waters. Yet, we rarely discuss the Universal ones. There is an intriguing and fascinating connection between her literary wonders, and the repetition of a traveling one. Again, this is the kind of travel story, where magic is shared. The story is abundant, rich, and filled with the treasures of travel wonders and mystery. By engaging with this energy, creating in it, and bringing her talents (birthed from her own, cultural garden), one has proven oneself as valuable; as a jewel, who is to be nourished. The very thought of pity, is immediately erased. It it these travel stories and tales, which illuminates the value of Black American people-our culture, our wellness, our legacy.
When Black American people (in every realm of our authenticity) are colored in holistic energy for our travel narratives, our culture and image becomes more attractive. It doesn’t mean we are void from entering into our periods of social progression and elevation, within the United States of America. What it does articulate, however, is that while we are fighting, it is the art, which best reflects our image. It is the art of our humanity, and simply Being, which we push the most to the forefront. It is better to have imagery of our creativity- our Love, our passion, our cultural richness! Consistent showcase of struggle is tiring. Furthermore, it drains the energy of those around you. The world is prevented from witnessing your peculiar design, fashion, and patterning, in the American quilt.
So, let us travel in the Universal way. Make it as natural, as fluid, as can be! Connect them with Earthly waters, so to catch the gaze, for others to sea!
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