by Simi George
86 year-old Maya Angelou was a renowned African-American author and poet. In her lifetime, she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than 50 years.
Though she never went to college, she was a recipient of many awards and over 30 honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I know why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
She was a record breaker- the first black female director and producer for 20th Century Fox. Like everyone else, Maya Angelou had that special side of her, that only a few people were privileged to see and experience. Here are 10 things you should know about the late Maya Angelou:
1.She totally adored Uggs ( also known as Ugg boots), it was her favourite clothing item.
2.She was ‘upset’ that a poem of hers was in an explicit rap song by Common.
3.She was good friends with Nelson Mandela. They met in Cairo in the year 1962. Last year, shortly after Mandela’s death, she recited a poem in memory of the former South African president in a video that has racked up more than 1 million views on the YouTube channel for the U.S. Department of State.
4.She was also a dancer. In the 50s, she danced in Porgy and Bess, a nationwide tour of the George Gershwin opera about American poverty and racism that the U.S. Department of State sponsored. She was singing at nightclubs when she got the role, she told NPR.
5.She watched Law & Order. Outside of her literary accomplishments, Angelou was also an actress. She appeared in “Poetic Justice” in 1993, and Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Family Reunion” in 2006. Her earliest acting role was in the TV mini-series “Roots” in 1977
6.While she wrote, she drank sherry.
7.She was a big fan of country music. She listened to Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Montgomery Gentry and Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland. “I’ve been seriously affected by the breakup of Brooks & Dunn,” she told Parade. “They broke up after 20 years and I’ve been seriously offended by that!”
8.She wrote cookbooks: The author of Great Food, All Day Long and Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, she believed people won’t overeat if they eat what they want when they feel like it, such as “fried rice for breakfast,” she told The Guardian.
9.She says at 16, she was the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. “I loved the uniforms,” she told Oprah Winfrey.
10.She was a guest star on Sesame Street. Watch a pink puppet character grab her nose while she plays a name game using only words that begin with the letter “N.”
She also has some of these achievements to her credit:
On May 30 2014, she was to be honoured with the ‘ Beacon of Life’ award, unfortunately, she cancelled her appearance due to ill health and passed away on May 28 2014.
2013: She was awarded the Literarian Award by the National Book Foundation for her contributions to the literary community. The award was Angelou’s first major literary prize, according to the Huffington Post.
2010: Angelou was honoured by the White House with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honour. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, and the Lincoln Medal in 2008.
2002: She won her third Grammy for Best Spoke Word for her album “A Song Flung Up to Heaven.”
1995: She won a grammy for “Phenomenal Woman”
1993: She won her first grammy in 1993 for ‘’ One Pulse of Morning’’
1981: She was appointed Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, where she worked as a professor up until her death.
She once said that she wanted the following phrase carved on her tombstone: “I did my best, I hope you do the same.”