On top of being tapped to perform at this year’s Super Bowl and signing a modeling contract with IMG Models, Amanda Gorman can also add an interview with Michelle Obama to her growing list of accolades.
For Time’s “The Black Renaissance” cover story, the former first lady interviewed Gorman in a candid conversation about imposter syndrome, the relationship between art and activism, and the poem she performed at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration.
Obama and Gorman met twice before, once in 2016 for a National Student Poets program event at the White House and again in 2018 during an event for Black Girls Rock.
“Poetry and language are often at the heartbeat of movements for change,” Gorman told Obama during their interview about the Black Lives Matter movement being shifted through art and poetry. “If we look to the Black Lives Matter protests, you see banners that say, ‘They buried us but they didn’t know we were seeds.’ That’s poetry being marshaled to speak of racial justice. If you analyze Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, it’s a great document of rhetoric that’s also a great document of poetry, of imagery, of song. Never underestimate the power of art as the language of the people.”
Gorman wrote a post on Twitter to express her gratitude for being Time’s latest cover star. And Obama, who retweeted Gorman’s post, expressed how she was “moved” during Gorman’s poem delivery in January and that she’s “so proud of the young woman” Gorman has become.
What an honor to be on @TIME ‘s new cover. From the interview: “In all the forms of expression of human life, we’re seeing that artistry be informed by the Black experience. I can’t imagine anything more exciting than that.” https://t.co/SKC3rreA4x
— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) February 4, 2021
Like so many of you, I was moved as I watched @TheAmandaGorman read her poem at the inauguration. I first met her back in 2016, and over the years, I’ve seen her continue to inspire people with her words. I’m so proud of the young woman she has become. https://t.co/9KLTu5tV4L
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 4, 2021
Included in the digital portion of the cover was a performance of Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb,” which was the same poem she performed on Inauguration Day.
— TIME (@TIME) February 4, 2021
Earlier in the year, Obama praised the 22-year-old on Instagram for her “strong and poignant words” that “reminds us of the power we each hold in upholding our democracy.”
In March, Gorman is set to release a special edition of The Hill We Club and Other Poems in a poetry collection as well as her debut children’s book, Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, according to CNN. The three books have a million prints due to overwhelming demand and have already reached the number one and two spots on Amazon’s bestseller list.