Maya Angelou, the woman and the name that we all came to love and mostly know. The cheers seem to be from presidents and others giving their condolences for us to see. For those who were touched by her clear genius and the misery she experienced as a child, this caged bird still didn’t sing often enough in our community, but knew about the oppression and the oppressors.
It’s beautiful to hear her great poetry. At 86 she’s left us. But those of us who remain, who are we speaking of to this day? In words and in hip-hop, was Angelou respected in any particular way? But now, everyone has found a reason to say that they care. Are they speaking to those who she wrote to in such despair? Are the celebrities’ hearts pouring out in flowers and gifts, or even as tokens being given to the HBCUs where she was a constant speaker? Is anyone thinking about the very people to whom she continued to reach that were black, even in her celebrity?
Maya Angelou was a celebrity above all presidents throughout the land, but her celebrity never let her remove herself from the common woman and man. Color was never her race, no matter how high her place was from the eyes of our constant disgrace of catfights and cooning that happens in a new style and uses the word “hip-hop” to describe it to make it seem rational and relevant, even though it is vile. We’ll just play it off like we don’t see it, to our own chagrin, when we lay up next to racists like Donald Sterling and call him a friend. From his giving though, millions and billions aren’t going to an HBCU from people that capitalize on the talents of young blacks in music, entertainment, and sports.
I’m not certain that I believe all that you have to say about Angelou on her departure today. Before she set sail, Twitter was not a roar before she set sail. The Facebook likes did not pour. Now that she’s gone and you cannot tell her how well she has done, you are not a fan, for your love has been unseen for far too many and for not enough of us. For some who say, “Oh we thank God for you” and for those of us who got to hear your voice you see their tributes. I remember the last request I had for her, “I only want you so say one thing, can you say my name?” It was me, Maya and Common and it was a surprise to this day. I will admire her in her most loving, joyful way. I asked her what she would say to black men if she was able to speak to them all. She spoke so eloquently on video.
What she shared, that same relationship can be said for the economic oppression that is happening today. The fact is that social media networks don’t advertise with black companies to this day. The same thing that you, Ms. Angelou talked about being taken away.
We love you. I love you too and my mother, sister, and grandmother I do adore. Even I know that we didn’t respect you in our actions as there is so much in media we all deplore. You seem to be the conversation of the day and yet we spend money with people who hate us every day. We drive cars that have companies that have no time in our community. We wear clothing brands that don’t reflect our true identity. So,Maya, we might need to study you again and understand what caged birds we are to stop singing for the man.