“Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
I’m a woman
That’s what she was, with aplomb!! Maya Angelou!! A phoenomenal woman of strength, courage, grit sprinkled with wit and unapologised repartee!! She was a crackling poet, literary genius, an advocate of feminism and civil rights for African American women.
“It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.”
That’s how powerpacked her writing was!!She’s written 300 books, 7 autobiographies, many award winning poetry’s and essays, received many honors and awards for her impeccable achievements in literature. She was a survivor, artist, hip hop queen, mentor, writer and influencer. Her quotes are awe inspiring and bluntly remarkable!!
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
“I know why the caged bird sings.”
Also by the same name was her first book published which grabbed all ears towards this influential voice. It instantly became a rage and brought Maya under the limelight. Who is this Maya, in a gist?
Maya Angelou was born in St Louis, MO on April 4,1928! She had a disturbed childhood with divorced parents and was raped by her mothers boyfriend at meagre age of 7 years. Her uncles killed the accused but Maya turned mute and colorless. Her guileless childhood was spent shuffling between separated parents. She turned towards dancing to rev up, heal and live. She rose from being a night club dancer to queen of American hip hop!! A mother at 17, she continued her quest for voice, for acclaim and survival without conditions.
A mentor to Oprah Winfrey, the road to recognition was long and tedious for Maya. She juggled everything together excelling at each role she clasped. She followed Martin Luther king as her guru for African American civil rights, fighting chivalrously for equality and respect. She rose to zenith with her eloquent writings like “ phoenomenal woman” and “still I rise”. In her own words, she quotes:-
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
That’s the kind of formidable combination Maya Angelou was!! The woman with the Midas writing, kickass attitude and a dash of sass!! In a career spanning 50 years, she claimed variety from writing, acting, spokesperson for black people, honorary literature icon to music diva!! She was also the first black female street car conductor in San Francisco. She rose like a Phoenix from being a sex worker to a revered poet reciting inaugurations for Bill Clinton.
Another one of her striking quotes, which is my favorite is:-
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
She’s a female role model in American history who showed that world is her ramp and her writing is her voice towards boldness, fame and recognition!
The ticket to glory, her autobiography- “I know why the caged bird sings” is evocative and lingers with taboo issues like rape and racism. Maya didn’t jitter to speak her clairvoyant heart and mind, and quote her miseries as a deprived black girl.
“The caged bird sings
With a fearful trill
Of things unknown
But longed for still
And his tune is heard
On the distant hill
For the caged bird
Sings of freedom.”
Maya also quoted :
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
She’s made the world feel her presence even after she’s gone, her writings linger on, to inspire each one of us to voice our opinions uninhibited, blatantly!!
She died on May 28,2014 in North Carolina.