Taraji P. Henson has taken on the role of lending her voice and serving as an executive producer for the documentary “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project.” The documentary, which was directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
The film delves into Nikki Giovanni’s reflections on time through a blend of vérité and archival footage. It honors her work with an Afro-futuristic lens. Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project will premiere in theaters, Nov 3rd, before streaming on Max in 2024.
Henson lends her voice to several of Giovanni’s poems, watch the trailer below.
“Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project” has already garnered attention, winning the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. It also received the Best Documentary award at the Blackstar Film Festival in Philadelphia and the Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, as well as awards at the Freep Film Festival in Detroit and the Ashland Independent Film Festival in Oregon.
Sundance programmers described the film as a vision fit for the radical imagination of Nikki Giovanni, capturing her reflections on the passage of time and transcending time and place through vérité and archival images. The documentary honors Giovanni’s complexity and takes viewers on a journey through Black liberation from the perspective of one of America’s most celebrated writers and activists.
Nikki Giovanni, who turned 80 in June, has received numerous honors throughout her career, including seven NAACP Image Awards, the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, the Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Carl Sandburg Literary Award. Oprah Winfrey named her one of her 25 Living Legends in 2005, and Giovanni became associated with the Black Arts Movement during the 1960s.
Directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson expressed their deep connection to Nikki Giovanni’s work, with Brewster recalling his emotional connection to her words from his upbringing in Los Angeles. Stephenson discovered Giovanni’s work during her college years, becoming a devoted fan of her writings.