The nation's resident Black Catholic poet laureate continues to make history, and this time it's all in her own right.
After taking the world by storm during President Biden's inauguration, Amanda Gorman is now the first poet to ever grace the cover of Vogue Magazine. (And just in time for National Poetry Month, at that.)
Dressed by the Catholic-educated Virgil Abloh, Gorman and her shoot bucked the recent trend of questionable staging choices for Black women on the cover of fashion's finest, basking in (and perhaps radiating) light while donning a pair of stunning dresses—chief among them a decidedly Afrocentric one-shoulder Kente smock.
She followed up the May Issue feat with another first, notching on Wednesday the best first-week sales ever for a poet, debuting at the top of the USA Today list with the book form of her inauguration poem, "The Hill We Climb" (released on March 30th).
She had previously topped the Amazon charts in January after her initial rise to mega-fame, not only with THWC but also her upcoming poetry collection and children's book (due for a simultaneous release on September 21st).
Oprah Winfrey, who wrote the foreword for the standalone THWC book, interviewed Gorman a few days before its release. Therein, the young star noted that she has taken the media mogul's earlier advice and remained quite discreet in her dealings with potential collaborators.
“Well, you gave me a great piece of advice, which now my team lives by, where you said basically, be wary of other people’s agendas, because they have them. So, whenever I show up to a meeting with my team, and we’re deciding what needs to get done, 98% of the time, we’re saying "No.”
Her interview accompanying the Vogue cover, released on April 7th, revealed that this has amounted to about $17M in passed-over deals so far. (She cited philosophical differences with the unnamed parties on the other end of negotiations.)
And though she's clearly not in it for the money, the rewards—whether ledger or limelight—seem all but unavoidable at this point.
Indeed, the Met Gala (which just two years ago featured an explicitly Catholic theme and is usually previewed in the May Issue itself) is reportedly on for the same month as Gorman's upcoming book drops—and Gorman herself is rumored to host.
Suffice it to say that much of America would love to see fashion's biggest night be in her elusive 2%.
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).