(poet, writer, dancer, singer, teacher, producer, playwright, activist 1928 – 2014)
Born Marguerite Annie Johnson, Maya Angelou was a multidimensional human. A multitalented woman and a gift to us all. She lived a life so full, so true to herself, and in her own terms that she inspired many to find their truth.
Described by some as the “Black Woman’s poet laureate”, Maya Angelou gave voice and language to the experiences of black women the world over. Through poems such as Phenomenal Woman and Still I Rise she reminded all women to claim their experiences. She wrote poems for presidents, for ordinary people even for herself.
Though she never went to college, she was greatly honoured with fifty honorary degrees by various universities and later in life preferred to be addressed as Dr Maya Angelou. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie, a Tony Away for her play Look Away and three Grammys for her spoken word albums.
Her work is used in education, in films, in various women’s movements. Even though she was in poor health just before her passing, she was said to have many plans for work, for parties and Life!
The caged bird has flown away…