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US poet Amanda Gorman says she was followed by security guard who said she looked ‘suspicious’

Leah Sinclair
·3 min read
<p>Amanda Gorman</p> (Getty Images)

Amanda Gorman

(Getty Images)

Amanda Gorman, the US poet who won acclaim for her performance at Joe Biden’s inauguration, has said she was followed home and accosted by a security guard who allegedly said she looked “suspicious’”

Ms Gorman shared her experience on Twitter, revealing that she was walking home alone while “tailed” by a guard.

“A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because “you look suspicious.” I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building”, she wrote.

The poet said the security guard didn’t apologise, adding: “This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat”.

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In a following tweet, Ms Gorman said: “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be”.

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In revealing her experience, she re-shared a post she made in February which said: "We live in a contradictory society that can celebrate a black girl poet & also pepper spray a 9 yr old" - in reference to a recent incident in Rochester, New York.

"Yes see me, but also see all other black girls who’ve been made invisible. I can not, will not, rise alone".

Ms Gorman’s post was widely shared across Twitter and many discussed her experience.

A Virginia state legislator, Mark Keam, said: “Let this story sink in. And realise how – while I’m glad it ended safe for Amanda Gorman – this type of confrontation is an every day occurrence for millions of our fellow Americans”.

Ms Gorman, who turns 23 on Sunday, won the hearts many after giving a riveting performance of her inauguration poem, The Hill We Climb.

In her poem, Ms Gorman described herself as “a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother [who] can dream of becoming president, only to find her self reciting for one”.

She also spoke of “striving to forge a union with purpose / To compose a country committed to all cultures, colours, characters and conditions of man”.

Since appearing on the world’s stage, the Harvard graduate has performed at this year’s Super Bowl and was recently signed to IMG Models.

Her forthcoming books, the poetry collection The Hill We Climb and the children’s book Change Sings, also topped the book charts after her inauguration performance.

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