Upon hearing the news of Dr. Maya Angelou’s passing, I wrote a few essays, I gave some interviews about her amazing legacy. Here are the links to those media outlets. She really was our Phenomenal Woman.
Maya Angelou Showed How To Survive Rape and Racism– And Still Be Joyful. (The Guardian).
Before Caged Bird, Richard Wright’s Black Boy was thought to be the definitive memoir of growing up black in the Jim Crow south. Black Boy – brutal and tragic – reinforced the popular feeling that the answers to the “race question” were issues of manhood. Caged Bird added Angelou’s voice to this conversation – harmony and song – in becoming a classic itself.
Maya Angelou: A Writer’s Appreciation. (Newsday)
Angelou will be remembered in the hearts and minds of everyday people who clung to her words to make sense of this complicated American life. Last semester, one of my students proudly bared her shoulders across which “Phenomenal Woman” — the title of Angelou’s beloved 1978 poem — was tattooed in an ornate script. This, I believe, is a perfect tribute. For Angelou understood that poetry should not be confined to pages or to classrooms, that it should be infused with the air, taken into our lungs, laced through our thoughts and sometimes even inked onto our bodies.
BBC News Night with Nigerian author Ben Okri. (video)
LA Times video chat with Carolyn Kellogg (video)