Nikki Giovanni On Beautiful Black Men

In recognition of Black History Month, Transformation Publications will present poems, essays, and other artistic creations by Black artists, musicians, and writers.

Nikki GiovanniNikki Giovanni (June 7, 1943 -)

Beautiful Black Men

(With compliments and apologies to all not mentioned by name)

i wanta say just gotta say something
bout those beautiful beautiful beautiful outasight
black men
with they afros
walking down the street
is the same ol danger
but a brand new pleasure

sitting on stoops, in bars, going to offices
running numbers, watching for their whores
preaching in churches, driving their hogs
walking their dogs, winking at me
in their fire red, lime green, burnt orange
royal blue tight tight pants that hug
what i like to hug

jerry butler, wilson pickett, the impressions
temptations, mighty mighty sly
don’t have to do anything but walk
on stage
and i scream and stamp and shout
see new breed men in breed alls
dashiki suits with shirts that match
the lining that compliments the ties
that smile at the sandals
where dirty toes peek at me
and i scream and stamp and shout
for more beautiful beautiful beautiful
black men with outasight afros

Listen to Nikki Giovanni reading her poem “Beautiful Black Men” here.

Note: I had the pleasure and honor of knowing and working with Nikki during my junior and senior years at Rutgers University. I was Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs at Livingston College, an alternative university, established by Rutgers as an urban school with a higher enrollment of minority students. It was a social experiment as a result of Black student protest throughout the state wide university system in New Jersey and the 1967 social/political uprising in Newark. We shared many long and insightful conversations on what it met to be a Black man/woman writer/human in those changing times. I am forever grateful for her presence in my life.


Photo Credit: Gold medalist Tommie Smith (center) and bronze medalist John Carlos (right) showing the raised fist on the podium after the 200 m race at the 1968 Summer Olympics. (Source Wikipedia)

Listen to Roberta Flack sing her hit song Killing Me Softly With His Song here.

🎂Happy Birthday Richard Allen  (February 14, 1760 – March 26, 1831) In Memoriam🌹