BLACK VOICES

A Look Black: Nikki Giovanni, 1968

Nikki Giovanni was born Yolanda Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni in 1943. She has written numerous volumes of poetry and has been honored with loads of awards, including 20 honorary degrees from national colleges and universities. Her poems are undeniably authentic distillations of black life in America. We love her for her writing, and because as an undergraduate, she was editor of Fisk University's literary magazine. But we love her the most because she wrote a poem called "Ego Tripping: There Maybe Be a Reason Why" that includes these three words, in all-caps: "I AM BAD."

Nikki Giovanni is today's A Look Black.

American poet Yolanda Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni, circa 1968. (Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)