And just with the power of words.
I find myself at a loss for words of tribute for someone whose words echo into the depths of billions of hearts. With a sense of gratitude that we are living in a world that has been touched by profound wisdom of someone like Maya Angelou, I bid adieu to the lady with captivating words.
The most mesmerizing aspect of her work is her willingness and courage to share her story with the world. A perfect example of breaking barriers and overcoming challenges, she showed us how writing is all about authenticity and is not dependent on university degrees or empty literary exercises. It asks for grit made of steel to bare your heart out in the open. “Courage”, she believed,”is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
From being a cook to a prostitute to a nightclub dancer to an actor and then rising to be a towering literary figure, Maya Angelou’s journey wasn’t easy. What’s extraordinary about her journey is the way she moulded the most unforgiving of circumstances into her aides for journey into self. It is impossible to miss her unapologetic attitude for who she was – a black, a woman, a not-so-educated and rich person in the world dominated by people unlike her. It was her authoritative tone that kindled hope and inspiration into people who had resigned themselves to their fates.
Be it her poetry or essays or autobiographies, what she called “the human truth” rings so true, that anyone from across the globe can relate to her work. Her work moves, enchants, motivates, uplifts, even goads into taking charge. It’s no wonder that she has been a mentor and big impact to the likes of Oprah Winfrey.
Being mute for five years due to brutally unfortunate incidents to reciting her poem at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton (becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961), Maya Angelou came a long way and left an indelible mark on the world and its belief system.
A strong believer in inner strength of women, Angelou put women in touch with their “phenomenal” power and taught them to celebrate themselves. Her message to them being:
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Rest in peace “the black woman’s poet laureate”! You will never be forgotten.
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