With the loss of Maya Angelou this week, it left me in a weird place. This miraculous woman lived such a troubling, yet creative and inspiring life. She gave hope and created a path for artists like myself to venture into the world to do what we were meant to do: create art in all forms. She was one of the first to speak for the rest of us black female writers, and she did it beautifully. She gave us everything that was on her mind, truthfully, but so poetic, the audience couldn’t help but listen and give this powerful woman respect. To her, I owe so much gratitude for allowing me to live and have faith as an artist.
When I heard the news on Wednesday morning, it was definitely upsetting. However, not for the obvious reason. Yes, we lost a wonderful person and mogul of this century, but it truly hurt me that we don’t have many else like Angelou. How could we take all that she endured for granted and not produce more artists in a day where we don’t have an excuse to not live our dreams? Yes, there are still prejudices, but we are able to use them as creative muses and a way to guide our creativity. How can we not venture as far as Maya Angelou? Every parent teaches their child to do better, be better, and I feel as if that’s what we should be doing. Yes, commemorate the life of this magnificent woman who gave us hope that black and female poetry could live outside of racial and gender boundaries, but also uplift her by keeping her dream alive while living our own through her teachings.
The greats should not keep dwindling but steadily grow as more are thriving in their culture. Where are the artists that we used to have in previous decades who would dance to every poem sung and be theatrical to every major moment in history? Angelou was multi-faceted, in that, she showed us that simplicity is not always key. As a singer, dancer, writer, political activist, and occasional actress, she personally gave me hope that I could, in fact, live out every childhood dream I ever wished. And, thanks to her, I have the opportunity to do so.
The torch must be passed on; we should always keep the flame burning. True goals and desires are met with the shared fire of determination.