Poet, Renaissance Woman Maya Angelou Dead at 86
Poet, Actress, and Renaissance woman Maya Angelou has died, according to the Associated Press. She was 86.
Ms. Angelou wrote many poems, several autobiographies (her best-known was probably I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS), acted in the original ROOTS TV mini-series and appeared, as herself, in Tyler Perry’s MADEA’S FAMILY REUNION, where she recited a poem that discussed true love and its timeless nature.
In reading her obituary, I was struck by how many different things Ms. Angelou did during her life. She was a singer, an actress, a dancer, once owned a brothel . . . writers often kid each other about how many different jobs we’ve held, but it sounds like Ms. Angelou had all of the rest of us beat on that score.
All of that experience went into her writing, deepening and broadening it immensely. She was unafraid to be who she was, and admitted to several very bad things that had happened to her early in life. Somehow, she rose above those awful things, and became her best self.
It’s rare when a writer or poet gets to know a President. Ms. Angelou got to know at least three: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. All three men have said in the past that they felt inspired by her, so I cannot believe it would be any different now that she’s passed on.
I hadn’t been aware of half of the things Ms. Angelou did during her thoroughly extraordinary life. But I honor her for everything she did, everything she said — even if I didn’t always like it — and for living a life that inspired millions.
May her Afterlife be everything she hoped it would be.