Angelina Jolie and her daughter, Zahara, honored poet Amanda Gorman at Variety’s Power of Women dinner. The event was held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California, on Thursday (Sept. 30) and featured Jolie onstage giving praise to Amanda for her boldness and creativity with words.
“The young woman of grace, who stepped fearlessly to the podium on inauguration day,” Angelina told attendees. “Not just the youngest but the strongest voice we could ask for in that moment,” the director said. “The Amanda we see today might seem as if she leapt into our times, fully formed, to summon our better angels. But there was an Amanda we didn’t see.”
Many became aware of Amanda Gorman’s poetic brilliance at the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden. The 22-year-old delivered a phenomenal speech called “The Hill We Climb,” which spoke to the times. “The Hill We Climb” continues to speak to the moment as the United States faces an uphill journey through COVID-19 and other societal issues thrust into the spotlight by the pandemic.
“So many girls have their progress in life derailed — by poverty, by the disapproving word, the clenched fist, or the steel of the gun,” Angelina Jolie said during her speech honoring Amanda Gorman at the Power of Women dinner. “How many Amanda’s are living in Afghanistan, hiding their journals, waiting to see if they will be allowed to go to school,” the director asked. “As if anyone has the right to decide what a woman can or cannot do with her own mind and body,” Jolie continued.
“Those who have the power of free speech – the weapon of free speech – must combine to defend those who do not. We need voices like Amanda’s, those lights in the dark. May you burn fiercely, and light the way for others.”
Amanda Gorman’s children’s book, Change Sings, was released on September 21, 2021. You can learn more about the picture book here!
Photo: Getty Images