This piece is written by my intern for the day Candynce Newbill.
The caged bird has taken her last flight…
This morning we mourn the loss of award winning poet, director, sister, and friend, Miss Maya Angelou. After canceling many engagements in the past month due to a generous number of “unexpected ailments”, Dr. Maya Angelou gained her wings this morning in her long time home of Winston-Salem, North Carolina at age 86.
Maya Angelou was born April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri as Marguerite Annie Johnson. Her first rise to fame was as a singer in the 1950’s. She grew to more prominence with her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. She became the first African-American female big-screen movie director in 1998 with her direction of “Down in the Delta”.
Miss Angelou accumulated a great amount of awards in her precious lifetime including 3 Grammys, and nominations for a Pulitzer, Tony, and Emmy. She leaves behind her only son, Guy Johnson.
As an English Education student immersed in the world of literature and poetic arts, Dr. Maya Angelou has been nothing less than a role model and inspiration to me as well as my writing. I first encountered her work as a middle school student at the age of 12 when I was charged with the assignment to read her autobiography, Now I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I immediately could identify with many of the struggles she endured as a youth such as poverty and abuse; however, her perseverance did aid in teaching me that a struggle does not determine your end result. Hard work and faith can in fact take you to anywhere you dream! As I further delved into her work, the eloquence and rhythm used in popular pieces such as “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman” served as great examples for my own writing. Her work gave me a whole new perspective and dedication. Maya Angelou, you will be missed, but your wise words will live on in our hearts all over the world forever.
#MayaAngelou empowered millions of women, especially black women to love & appreciate themselves. She was my (s)hero.
— KING of Stud4Stud (@StudSlayer) May 28, 2014
RIP #MayaAngelou you will always be an American Treasure. We will always keep you art of words in our hearts! pic.twitter.com/w2WbwK8mHT
— James G (@Daja_james) May 28, 2014
“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” #MayaAngelou
— Jennifer Donelan (@ABC7Jennifer) May 28, 2014
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Her energy is infectious! "Edutainment" is her specialty. When Nikki Strong is on, you know you will get caught up in what's going down (and learn something new too)! From Soft Rock to Hip-Hop, Gospel to World music, Nikki's 15+ year radio career involves working in various capacities and formats. Currently Nikki serves as Producer of the Hang Suite on Saturday nights and the go-to Talent whenever anyone takes vacation time or needs a fun host for a remote event. She also host the news and entertainment show "The Scene" on SiriusXM 141 H.U.R. voices Thursdays at 12:30p. Engaging and informative, this Harlem native loves to have a good time with great music! One of her most fulfilling gigs was giving birth to the "Neo-Soul" channel, The Flow, at XM Satellite Radio where she worked as Music Director. She also served as Music Director and Air Talent for the World Music station XM100 WorldZone and then went on to help build an international Hip Hop music station for WorldSpace Satellite Radio. These last two positions, in particular, enabled Nikki to experience first hand how impactful African American culture, especially Soul, Hip Hop and Jazz have been on music from all over the world. Off air, Nikki loves the theater arts and also works as an actress/dancer/singer and voice over artist. She also teaches dance to youth in the DMV area. Occasionally you may catch her substitute teaching a Ballet, Modern or Jazz class for adults at several of the local dance studios, or flexing her acting chops on stage at one of DC's great theatres. Nikki is proud that DC has been her home for over 10 years. She is excited and honored to be a member of the WHUR family and its rich legacy.