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Amanda Gorman’s incredible inauguration performance is taking the world by storm

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Lauren Geall
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Amanda Gorman

With her performance of The Hill We Climb, America’s youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman stole the show at yesterday’s inauguration.

From Lady Gaga’s performance of the US national anthem to the eye-catching block colour fashion, there were plenty of stand-out moments (alongside the historic event itself, of course) at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inauguration ceremony.

But on top of all of this, there was one moment in particular which really stole the show. We’re talking, of course, about the performance of one Amanda Gorman, America’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate and the youngest poet ever to perform at a presidential inauguration.

Her poem, titled The Hill We Climb, was a rousing call for unity just weeks after armed insurrectionists stormed the US capitol. With her words, the young poet painted a picture of the country Biden and Harris’s administration is inheriting – but spoke of hope for the country and its future.

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast,” Gorman recited. “We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice. And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

“We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.”

Elsewhere in the poem, Gorman spoke of the importance of putting “differences aside” and reuniting the division which has become such a destructive presence in American politics. 

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“We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another,” she read. “We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried. That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.”

Gorman, who graduated from Harvard last year, was named America’s first-ever youth poet laureate back in 2017. The award-winning poet and writer may only be 22 years-old, but she’s achieved massive success, having previously performed for the Obama’s at the White House as well as Lin Manuel-Miranda, Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai. 

Amanda Gorman at the US inauguration
Gorman’s poem The Hill We Climb referenced the armed insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol just weeks ago.

Her performance at yesterday makes her just the sixth poet to recite as a presidential inauguration, following in the footsteps of trailblazing poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Unsurprisingly, her poem took Twitter by storm yesterday, with celebrities and politicians alike sharing their admiration for Gorman’s talent.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise!” wrote Oprah Winfrey. “Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering – and so am I.”

Political activist Stacey Abrams called Gorman’s message “an inspiration to us all,” while John Legend simply called her “wonderful”. 

Michelle Obama also posted about her admiration for the poet, writing: “With her strong and poignant words, @TheAmandaGorman reminds us of the power we each hold in upholding our democracy. Keep shining, Amanda!” 

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.