Nicki Minaj Reading Maya Angelou's Poetry Is the Most Empowering Thing You'll Watch Today

Source: AP
Source: AP

Maya Angelou and Nicki Minaj have something in common: resilience. At Wednesday night's Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Minaj read Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise." The event was part of A&E's ongoing campaign to spark conversation about race in America.

The poem, one of Angelou's most celebrated, revolves around triumph over oppression. It speaks specifically to the struggles facing black women and the tenacity it takes to overcome them. Though Angelou wrote the poem in 1978, Minaj's reading in 2015 still feels salient to both the musician's career and the struggles of black women more broadly. 

Minaj read the poem with a calm, triumphant and defiant tone. The audience erupted in applause as she read the lines: "Does my sexiness upset you?/ Does it come as a surprise/ That I dance like I've got diamonds/ at the meeting of my thighs?" 

Source: Mic/YouTube

Minaj's longtime fans know "Still I Rise" was the title of one of the artist's earliest singles from her career-making mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty. Like Angelou's poem, it is a personal track that discusses the pressure Minaj faces to be all things to all people. 

Source: YouTube

Watch Minaj recite Angelou's poem below:

Source: YouTube

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor. He is a former editor at TheBody.com and he is working on a memoir.

MORE FROM

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

Serena Williams responds to John McEnroe's comments saying she would rank "like 700" against men

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."

People are way less likely to be helpful when it's hot out, according to study

Sorry, it's too hot out to help you move.

Democrats, the American Medical Association and US bishops blast the Senate health care bill

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 15 million more Americans will be without health insurance next year if the bill passes.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

Serena Williams responds to John McEnroe's comments saying she would rank "like 700" against men

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."

People are way less likely to be helpful when it's hot out, according to study

Sorry, it's too hot out to help you move.

Democrats, the American Medical Association and US bishops blast the Senate health care bill

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 15 million more Americans will be without health insurance next year if the bill passes.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.