Watch Nicki Minaj Read Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”
Tomorrow (Nov. 20) at 8:00 p.m. EST, A&E will air Shining A Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America. The concert, which features performances by Pharrell, John Legend, Big Sean, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Morgan Freeman, Jill Scott, Tank and more, is designed as a catalyst to openly discussing race in America. But perhaps more interesting than any of the musical performances is a quieter tribute from Nicki Minaj. The superstar from New York reads Maya Angelou's seminal 1978 poem "Still I Rise," in what looks to be one of the most arresting moments of the night, and perhaps of her career thus far. (2Pac completists might remember that his third posthumous collection, which paired him with his group the Outlawz, was called Still I Rise.) Watch the video of Nicki's rendition above, and read the full text of Angelou's performance below:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
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?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.