December 3, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Forget Tom Brady. Poet Amanda Gorman will tackle Super Bowl

A week after she touched down in Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration, Amanda Gorman is set to tackle another major American event: Super Bowl LV.

The NFL announced Wednesday that Gorman, the acclaimed L.A. poet who went viral after her inauguration performance, will recite an original piece at next month’s game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Gorman’s appearance will almost certainly mark the first time a poet has been part of the widely watched sporting event. (But apparently it has inspired plenty of poems — who knew?)

Her Super Bowl poem will celebrate the contributions of the big game’s three honorary captains: an educator, a nurse manager and a Marine Corps. veteran.

One of the captains, Los Angeles’ Trimaine Davis, will be recognized for his dedication to his students amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Davis has spent his career cultivating the talents of Black students through his work with the Cal State Northridge Black Male Initiative, San Diego State’s Student African American Brotherhood and Afrikan Student Union and other organizations.

The other 2021 honorees are Florida’s Suzie Dorner, a COVID ICU nurse manager at Tampa General Hospital, and Pennsylvania’s James Martin, who has been connecting with high school athletes, local youth and fellow veterans by hosting virtual events amid the public health crisis.

“During this incredibly challenging time in our lives, Trimaine, Suzie, and James have exemplified the essence of leadership, each in their own way,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement.

Last week, Gorman emerged as the MVP of the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris — and her star has continued to rise. After transfixing the country with her powerful poem “The Hill We Climb,” the 22-year-old wordsmith has made memorable TV appearances and recently signed with talent agency IMG Models.

Additionally, her upcoming titles — “The Hill We Climb: Poems”; the children’s book “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem”; and a special edition of her acclaimed inaugural poem — have all skyrocketed to the top of Amazon’s bestsellers list.

Earlier this month, Gorman — who has announced plans to run for president as soon as she’s eligible in 2036 — spoke with The Times about her experience perfecting her spoken-word craft while growing up with a speech impediment.

“I don’t look at my disability as a weakness,” she told The Times. “It’s made me the performer that I am and the storyteller that I strive to be. When you have to teach yourself how to say sounds, when you have to be highly concerned about pronunciation, it gives you a certain awareness of sonics, of the auditory experience.”

Gorman will debut her latest creation at the 2021 Super Bowl, which will see quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 7.