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Amanda Gorman wore ring gifted by Oprah, honoring Maya Angelou at inauguration

The Hill logo The Hill 1/20/2021 Celine Castronuovo
Amanda Gorman wore ring gifted by Oprah, honoring Maya Angelou at inauguration © AP/Pool Amanda Gorman wore ring gifted by Oprah, honoring Maya Angelou at inauguration

Award-winning poet Amanda Gorman said the ring she wore while reading her poem Wednesday at President Biden's inauguration ceremony was gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey and depicted a caged bird in honor of the late poet Maya Angelou.

CBS News anchor Gayle King, a longtime friend of Winfrey, first noted Wednesday during coverage of the ceremony that her friend had given Gorman the jewelry to wear for the ceremony.

King said Winfrey had given Angelou the coat the poet wore while reading her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at former President Clinton's inauguration in 1993. King said Winfrey had "reached out" to Gorman and said, "I'd like to get a coat for you."

Gorman reportedly told Winfrey that she had already picked out the yellow coat she planned to wear for the occasion. Winfrey then opted to give Gorman the earrings the young poet ended up wearing Wednesday and the ring honoring Angelou's famous poem "Caged Bird."

"Now, they are bonded for life, the two of them," King said of Winfrey and Gorman. "The tradition continues for Oprah."

Following Gorman's reading of her original poem "The Hill We Climb," Winfrey took to Twitter to praise the national youth poet laureate, writing, "I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava," referencing Angelou's poem "Still I Rise."

"Maya Angelou is cheering-and so am I," Winfrey added.

Gorman then responded to Winfrey's tweet, thanking her and confirming that the actress and author had given her the ring.

"I would be nowhere without the women whose footsteps I dance in," Gorman tweeted. "Here's to the women who have climbed my hills before."

Gorman, 22, on Wednesday became the youngest known inaugural poet in U.S. history. In her poem, she called on Americans to acknowledge the country's complicated past but to move forward with hope and unity.

"When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade," Gorman orated. "The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We've braved the belly of the beast. We've learned that quiet isn't always peace and the norms and notions of what just is isn't always just-ice."

"And yet the dawn is ours," she added.


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