Amanda Gorman, the young poet who found global fame after performing at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, has shared her experience of alleged racial profiling by a security guard.
The 22-year-old said on Twitter that she was accosted on a walk home on Friday and told “you look suspicious”.
“This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat,” she wrote.
Gorman grew widespread acclaim for her performance of The Hill We Climb.
Her poem was seen as a rousing and timely call for national unity – delivered at the US Capitol just weeks after it was the scene of deadly riots.
Tweeting about her experience, Gorman described being “tailed” by the security guard who she said offered no apology after she was able to prove she lived in her own apartment building.
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.”
In a second tweet about the incident, Gorman added: “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance.”
The BBC has contacted her for further comment.
Gorman’s social media posts have been widely shared – highlighted as an example of the every day prejudice faced by black people in the US.
“Let this story sink in,” Mark Keam, a state legislator in Virginia, tweeted. “And realise how – while I’m glad it ended safe for @TheAmandaGorman – this type of confrontation is an every day occurrence for millions of our fellow Americans.”
In her inauguration poem, 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”.
Born in Los Angeles in 1998, Gorman became the city’s youth poet laureate at 16. Three years later, while studying sociology at Harvard, she was named the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate.
She was the youngest poet to ever perform at a presidential inauguration and her performance was praised by influential national figures, including former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.