Angelina Jolie struck a piercing and enabling harmony on Thursday night, introducing national youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman with Variety’s Power of Women honour, reports Variety.com.
The whiz director, actor, and philanthropic showed up at the Beverly Hills festivity introduced by Lifetime with girl Zahara Jolie-Pitt close behind, to hand the honour to Gorman – the poet who dazzled the country in January at the introduction of President Joe Biden.
Jolie said: “The young woman of grace, who stepped fearlessly to the podium on inauguration day. Not just the youngest but the strongest voice we could ask for at that moment. 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,”
She also said: “A little girl with a speech impediment. In her own words, ‘a buck-toothed, kinky-haired, speech-garbled 7-year-old.’ Scribbling in her journal, on the school bus and park bench. wrestling with language, puzzling out meaning and rhyme, inventing her dictionary. All those hours of thought and creation forged the unfaltering woman you see today,”
Jolie extolled Gorman’s capacity to sharpen her words in profound isolation and express them in hoards saying if anyone can “bring people to the streets” with their words in this urgent moment, it is Gorman.
Also added: “So as well as celebrating your extraordinary achievements, Amanda, we honour 7-year-old you, and every other girl who feels she is an outsider, alone, when she is simply coming into her own,” said Jolie. “So many girls have their progress in life derailed – by poverty, by the disapproving word, the clenched fist, or the steel of the gun. How many Amandas are living in Afghanistan, hiding their journals, waiting to see if they will be allowed to go to school? As if anyone has the right to decide what a woman can or cannot do with her mind and body.”
Jolie, who walked the carpet with Gorman and Zahara, commented there was “nothing more beautiful, more challenging and more unsettling perhaps than the free mind of the thinking woman. That is surely why so much effort is put into constraining her.”
Following a series of adulation on that note, Jolie closed by saying: “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.”