Yesterday marked the passing of a legend on many fronts, Dr. Maya Angelou. I had the distinct opportunity to see her on two occasions. Speaking of someone who could command an audience, she rivaled the best! The first time I heard Dr. Angelou was at Cuyahoga Community College’s (Cleveland, Ohio) annual luncheon. She sang; she spoke in several different languages with an unforgettable eloquence; and she read her poetry with a narrated synchronization that seemingly made her words dance and shout! She brought the audience to its feet several times and I left in a spellbound trance! In fact, most of the audience was mesmerized. Several years ago, I had the privilege to hear Dr. Angelou at the King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Her presence was so phenomenal that you could hear a pin drop. But after all, she is and penned the “Phenomenal Woman.” The Mayor, attorneys, corporate presidents, physicians, entrepreneurs and the entire sardine packed auditorium were in awe of her as she told stories of her beloved Stamps, Arkansas before reading excerpts from her many works.
Since starting my blog and in my published inaugural books, I have quoted no one more than Dr. Angelou. Amazingly, she could do it all; and do it well! From acting, dancing, writing, to reading poetry with an articulated voice that resonated with grace, her sagacious wisdom rose higher than her voice. Oprah adopted her; so did I and the world! Today, I was in deep thought as to which piece of her work I loved best. It is tough, because they are all incredible. I taped the poem, “Phenomenal Woman” on my bathroom doors over fifteen years ago! I followed her rhythm in “I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings” as a replica from which to pattern my upcoming memoir. I believe that I regard as my favorite Maya Angelou quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!” Those words continuously aid me in the transformation of my incredulous stupidity of seeing blind traits in people and hoping that they would change. Because of you, Dr. Angelou, I am a “literary work in progress” as “I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.” Rest in peace.
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