Today (May 28, 2014), Roland Martin reported on NewsOne Now that legendary poet, activist, singer, dancer and actress Maya Angelou died today at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Details about her death have yet to be revealed.
A towering influence on today’s creative forces, Angelou was best known for her writings — specifically her autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," and her ground-breaking poem "Phenomenal Woman" which saw mainstream exposure when Janet Jackson recited the poem in 1993’s "Poetic Justice," a film Angelou had a cameo in.
"Justice" wasn’t her first taste of the stage, having first toured Europe in 1957’s stage production of "Porgy and Bess." She also directed films like "Down in the Delta" as well as took a role in a Tyler Perry film.
However, entertainment wasn’t her sole purpose. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, Angelou became politically activiated with the Civil Rights Movement, counting Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. among her friends and colleagues.
Since then, political heads and presidents have called on her wisdom and words leading her to serve on the Presidential Commission for the International Year of Women by President Jimmy Carter. She read "On the Pulse of the Morning" during President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration. In 2011, President Barack Obama awared her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. She was also an honorary member of the first African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Susan Taylor (former head of "Essence Magazine") called into NewsOne Now and perhaps summed up Angelou’s impact the best: "She was the most giving person I’ve ever met and she gave to us beyond our asking."
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