There would many days and many ways in which I heard this poem recited. The excerpt above always stayed with me. As I became older, I quickly understood that this portion spoke to me. It helped me understand (or why I did not comprehend) the wonderful women around me. This poem, as upliftingly feminine as it was/still is, helped guide me into manhood.

What many may not understand is that Maya Angelou was more than a poem.

Maya Angelou and Who She Really Was

Maya Angelou, as many of my African American queens, was as complicated as they come. The same woman that wrote one of the most presidential inauguration poems of our time also was a 17 year old unwed mother before. The same woman that taught American Studies at Wake Forest also ran a brothel and was a stripper in her early years. The same woman that found spiritual and monetary riches also grew up dirt poor. In turn, Maya Angelou became a singing caged bird that found a way to fly free.

 

If you think about her previous circumstances and what she overcame, you would understand what made her wonderful. Statistically, she was not supposed to do what she did. Statistically, she was supposed to be one of life’s failures. Statistically, she was supposed to be a statistic. Yet, she knew that mathematic measures had no bearing on the measures of the mind (and soul).

Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that was she.

Maya Angelou and What She Really Represented

Maya Angelou was the epitome of womanhood. Maya Angelou was a feminist before people started coining the term. She worked tirelessly to speak for the unspoken, do for the broken, and represent the down-trodden. “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” was more than an autobiographical novel: it was a beautiful melody of liberty displayed in book form. Many successful women were not wrong in working closely with Angelou, either. Maya Angelou was the woman many women worked to be.

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Maya Angelou was also the full representation of what Black Hope is supposed to represent. Long before Obama noted that we can have hope, Maya Angelou demonstrated how hope should look. Before Oprah became synonymous with business success, she found herself under Maya’s guidance. Before people read the tomes of Toni Morrison, Toniherself was being inspired by Angelou. Conclusively, Maya Angelou always served as an inspiration to greatness.

Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that was she.

Maya Angelou was Black America

In short, Maya Angelou was Black America. She represented how one should conduct themselves with style and grace. She also represents the fact that, no matter where you come from, where you are going is most important. She was the liege and motivation of so many important people out there. Thus, it would behoove all of us to honor a woman that lived her life for the sake of others.

Maya Angelou, your rest is going to be peaceful. You did your job. Now it is time for us to do ours.

Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that was she.

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A hip hop head that heralds from Gary, Indiana, Darcwonn now resides in the Atlanta area. When he is not teaching 6th graders how to make the most of what they read and write, he makes sure to write for his blog (www.chocolatecoveredlies.com), promote hip hop he enjoys for Emilio Sparks and Dead End Hip Hop, and review albums/music events and do interviews for Stacks Magazine. His educational pursuits led him through the throngs of Alabama State University, The University of Phoenix, and the University of Calumet – St. Joseph. On his down time, Darcwonn likes to relax, observe the world, and see his daughter grow into a young woman.