An Evening With Nikki Giovanni PBS-TV Show

Saturday 6/18/2005

Georgia Public Broadcasting

Atlanta, Georgia

This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provides a wonderful look inside the life of poet and educator Nikki Giovanni. Taped live in Atlanta, Georgia at Georgia Public Broadcasting on Saturday, June 18, 2005, this program is the eighth in The HistoryMakers' An Evening With. . . PBS-TV series. Writer, novelist and playwright Pearl Cleage interviewed her former childhood babysitter Nikki Giovanni in front of a standing room only audience.


The program begins with three Atlanta-based spoken word artists performing one of Giovanni's poems, Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why), and then, Pearl Cleage introduces Nikki Giovanni. During the interview, Giovanni talks about her childhood, the origins of her writing career and discusses her feelings about young people and hip hop culture. Throughout the interview, there are performances by spoken word artists reciting Giovanni's poems that display the power and thoughtfulness of her words. Giovanni has published more than fourteen volumes of poetry, including Black Feeling Black Talk, Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day, Love Poems and The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni.


Through the use of historic film footage and live performances, An Evening With Nikki Giovanni provides a profound look into the wonderful life of one of the world's most outstanding spoken word artists.

The HistoryMakers staff has created a finding aid for this event. View/Download below: 

Finding Aid To An Evening With Nikki Giovanni.pdf


Nikki Giovanni

Poet extraordinaire and spoken word artist Nikki Giovanni was born on June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Receiving her B.A. degree in 1967 from Fisk University, Giovanni became involved in the black arts movement, organizing the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati. In 1970, Giovanni founded her own publishing company, Niktom Limited. She has published more than fourteen volumes of poetry and various other books, including Racism 101 and Blues: For All the Changes. In 1987, she joined the faculty of the English Department at Virginia Polytechnical Institute, where she teaches writing, poetry and literature. Giovanni has received numerous honorary degrees, the NAACP Image Award for Literature in 1998 and 2000, and the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996. She has also been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle, Essence and Ladies Home Journal.



Pearl Cleage

Writer, playwright, poet, essayist, and journalist Pearl Michelle Cleage was born on December 7, 1948 in Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from the Detroit public schools in 1966, Cleage enrolled at Howard University, where she studied playwriting. She transferred and graduated from Spelman College in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in drama. As a writer, she has written three novels: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, I Wish I Had a Red Dress, and Some Things I Never Thought I’d Do, which was published in 2003. As an essayist, many of her essays and articles have appeared in magazines such as Essence, Ms. and Vibe. Cleage has written over a dozen plays, some of which include Bourbon at the Border and Blues for an Alabama Sky, which returned to Atlanta as part of the 1996 Cultural Olympiad in conjunction with the 1996 Olympic Games. In addition to her writing, Cleage remains active in a number of movements.



 Executive Producer

Julieanna L. Richardson



Faye Raye Conley

Clement McIntosh


Vince Hutcherson


Spoken Word Artists

Charlotte Della Cain

Andrea L. Mills

Ariana Santiago

Honorary Chair

Ingrid Saunders Jones


Event Co-Chairs 

Evern Cooper Epps

Richard Holmes

Steve Smith