Nikki Giovanni Chats With a Warm, Relaxed Muhammad Ali in this Rare 1971 Interview

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Muhammad Ali was a giant figure whose outspokenness served as a beacon of Black pride during a time of enormous racial upheaval. But he was also a thoughtful man, a kind and gentle man who loved his family. While we remember the Ali who refused to back down, he shows the other side in this 1971 interview with Nikki Giovanni.

Ali appeared with Ms. Giovanni on a public television show called Soul!. Just before he came out, South African musician Miriam Makeba performed, and Ali was followed by Philadelphia soul band The Delfonics.

Ms. Giovanni open by asking the champ about his family. At this time he had three children, all girls. He tells Giovanni that they're "giving him all the trouble I want."

The two do get into the sport he dominated, and Ali takes on its racial dimensions. When asked about the state of boxing, he responds. "They say boxing is dead now. It's because too many Black people rule it."

The level of mutual respect between the two is more than apparent. Take a look at the interview below.


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