The inspiring works of Nikki Giovanni and Judy Blume have been adored and admired by many for decades, leaving a lasting mark on world literature. In recent years, the legacies of these two literary powerhouses have been further honored with the production of two documentaries, highlighting the lasting impact their work has had on the world.
Karen Silverstein’s documentary, “Nikki Giovanni: A Voice of the People,” follows the 80-year-old poet and activist as she gives readings and lectures, shares personal stories and wisdom, and inspires a new generation to make a difference. Giovanni’s works have long been revered for their powerful sociopolitical messages that remain relevant and timeless. From her iconic poem “Ego Tripping (There May Be A Reason Why),” to her collection “Gemini: An Extended Autobiographical Statement on My First Twenty-Five Years of Being a Black Poet,” Giovanni’s words and works are an invaluable contribution to the black literary canon.
Another important contribution to the literary world is the work of Judy Blume. Blume is an iconic and beloved figure in children’s literature, having written over 30 books throughout her career, and her works are known for their frank and honest portrayals of childhood, adolescence, and adult life. In Kristy Bislyant’s documentary, “Judy Blume in Conversation,” Blume sits down with humorist Fran Lebowitz and journalist Peggy Noonan to discuss her six decades in the writing industry. During the conversation, Blume reflects on the different generations of readers she’s had, the importance of her work, and how she’s managed to remain incredibly popular and relevant, even as tastes and trends in literature continue to shift and evolve.
Despite the wide gulf of genre and subject matter in Giovanni’s and Blume’s works, it’s easy to see why their legacies have been honored in documentaries. At the end of the day, art, no matter the medium, is a universal form of expression, and both Giovanni and Blume are testament to the idea that good art never ages. Art, no matter its age, can remain accessible and relevant, a truth Giovanni and Blume have managed to prove through conversation, writing and activism.
The documentaries highlighting Nikki Giovanni and Judy Blume’s legacies are both important and powerful testaments to the power of art. Novels, poems, short stories, and even documentaries can move hearts, minds, and lives in unseen ways, and what better way to recognize the timelessness of these two important authors than to create documentaries showcasing their works and legacies. In an ever-shifting, ever-changing world, the fact that these works—and indeed, art itself—can remain relevant and accessible to all generations is a beautiful indication of the real power of literature.