#Art + Culture

Amanda Gorman Vogue Cover: How The Youth Is Holding Up Ideals Over Wealth Today

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Amanda Gorman Vogue cover interview is a revelation, one that’s already finding increased acknowledgment, of the idealism the young generation today exercises in pursuit of equality, justice and breaking new ground that is vividly removed from goals of material wealth. 

It seems the trailblazing expedition Amanda Gorman embarked upon, by becoming the youngest-ever poet (at all of 22 years) to perform at the United States presidential inauguration of Joe Biden in January, is charting brighter horizons with no plans to stop anytime soon. After a signing with one of the world’s top modelling agencies, two best-selling books to her name, and a coveted sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, the young star now holds the crown of the first poet in history to grace the Vogue magazine cover.

“This is called the Rise of Amanda Gorman, but it’s truly for all of you, both named & unseen, who lift me up,” the now 23-year-old wrote sharing her achievement on Twitter.

While her meteoric rise as a youth icon is awe-inspiring by itself, a look at the candid Gorman in her chat with Vogue for the cover story beckons a reckoning for the time we live in and the future we anticipate.

“It took so much labor, not only on behalf of me, but also of my family and of my village, to get here.” Amanda Gorman on her successes

In the young artist’s words, as she made her way around her craft of composing poetry, the pressures of meeting the “last thing you’ve done,” (also fashion, of course, and the cultural significance it holds for her), one can discern the idealism she operates on.

Ask the youth, and many will even be able to go beyond mere discernment to actual relatability. Because it’s part of a shared value system this generation harbours in hope of all that has potential for good in the world. Feminism, racial equality, justice, freedoms – there’s so much work left to be done. And in Gorman’s thoughts, that echo that of a million others her age lies determination that the youth will see these ends through.

Is The Amanda Gorman Vogue Cover A Sign Of The Youth’s Times?

As she opens up about letting $17 million worth of deals pass because they did not “speak to her,” Gorman highlights the importance of The Cause over materialistic amassment. And this trait cuts borders to envelope within it countless youths – across age groups, nationalities, backgrounds, countries – who are dreaming the same dream across the world. Differentiating objective wealth from subjective values.

Our generation is berated by the older ones for being restless, impractical, unsettled. But are we really so? Or are we only just picking up the pieces our elders have scattered in living through oppressive, patriarchal, racist, misogynist times and piecing everything back together in unity?

They complain of divorces rising, anguished women, protesting crowds. Are these a result of the youth’s discomposure or an effort to challenge the unequal status quo?

Young people are finding it easier to break away from the dictated social blueprint of life and demanding to live on their own terms. Must we be compelled to continue with financially stable marriages when the love is lost? Should women stay in jobs that are sexist and have no professional give? Should Gorman have kept shut when she was made the victim of racial profiling?

At the same time, it’s important to differentiate privileged idealism from ground realities. Lauding an Amanda Gorman for walking away from wealth in millions that people aren’t able to earn in entire lifetimes seems easy. Aspirations toward that kind of rock-solid conviction are common too. But how far is the reach of this value system plausible?

No matter how correct, how gettable this state of ideal being sounds, it comes from a place of privilege. In the face of survival on basic subsistence, is depending on only values at all wise or practical? Can idealism sustain us in the absence of certain resources? Will discourse on the class rift ever help bridge it without action?

Should the youth perhaps devise more ‘sustainable idealism’ that is accessible to more people? Ideas that balance real faith with real-time change? Even if seems a dream too distant, can we begin taking the first steps in that direction?

At least then we’ll know, as Amanda Gorman pens through her genius words in The Hill We Climb, “That even as we hurt, we hoped… That even as we tired, we tried… That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.”

Views expressed are the author’s own.