All Articles Tagged "maya angelou"

Happy 86th Birthday Maya Angelou! 7 Gems Of Wisdom From The Author

April 4th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Judy Eddy/

Judy Eddy/

Dr. Maya Angelou has provided inspiration for countless people around the world throughout her lifetime. It’d be virtually impossible to measure the scope and depth her work has left on the people she’s touched; but since today marks the 86th anniversary of her birth, it’s only fitting that we at least highlight just some of gems she’s dropped on us over the past 86 years.

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t love themselves.

This one is pretty self explanatory and completely logical. Yet and still so many of us will waste much time trying to repair broken people and being surprised when they cant reciprocate. Anyone who doesn’t love themselves can’t possibly love you in the way you want and need to be loved.

In Honor Of Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Famous Women Who’ve Spoken Out About Their Abuse

April 1st, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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It takes a strong woman to come forward and open up publicly about abuse and these famous women who are victims of rape are some of the most notable. As we begin Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, we take a moment to recognize their courage as a reminder that victims don’t have to be silenced.

"Gabrielle Union pf"


Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union is used to discussing her personal life with the media. During an interview with ABC’s “The View,” Union revealed that she was raped at the age of 19. Working at a Payless shoe store, the “Being Mary Jane” star was attacked by an employee from another store. He also raped and robbed another woman before turning himself in and is now serving a 33-year sentence. Union, who never wanted to be labeled as a victim, has become an advocate for survivors of assault.

Still Worth A Read: 2013 Bestsellers From Black Authors

December 20th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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What were some of the books you enjoyed reading this year? Were they full of adventure, romance or the harsh reality of life? Even if you weren’t able to finish your book or just never started one, there’s still time to jump into a great read. Here’s a quick rundown of the 2013 bestsellers from black authors. Granted some may not have hit the New York Times list but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do extremely well in their own right.

A Cover We Can Appreciate: TIME Magazine Asks What Happens “After Trayvon”?

July 18th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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after trayvon intro

While Rolling Stone is catching all kinds of flack for plastering a very rock star esque image of Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaey on the cover of their August issue, Time is taking a different, more tasteful and in our opinion more productive approach to selling magazines. Their August issue features an image of an transparent hoodie that speaks volumes. Withe the bold words “After Trayvon” spread across the cover, it’s quite clear that this issue will cover: racial profiling, Stand Your Ground laws, the George Zimmerman verdict, and race relations in this ever-changing country.

Time’s August issue doesn’t just examine the surface of this complex issue. Essence’s senior writer Jeannine Amber discusses how the lives of black parents changed after the “not guilty” verdict came down, in the same ways New Orleans’ residents lives changed after the levees broke or the ways New Yorkers’ lives changed after September 11th. Amber describes how black parents have been having “The Talk” with out sons for decades, centuries even; but after that verdict, many wondered how to re-stratergize:

These warnings weren’t always heeded, and sometimes they weren’t enough. But they allowed parents to feel that we gave our children a measure of protection against a threat we could identify. When confronted by violent gangs or overzealous law enforcement, we knew these rules of engagement might help keep our sons safe. But in George Zimmerman we saw a new danger, one that seemed utterly lawless.

We may never know exactly what happened the night Zimmerman shot Trayvon, but black parents know this: A neighborhood-watch man saw a brown-skinned teenager–a boy who could have been one of ours–wearing a hoodie pulled up against the rain and assumed he was up to no good. That suspicion set into motion a chain of events that left the boy dead. How do we protect against that? Do we tell our children to run if they are being followed? Or should they stop and turn around? Do we tell them to defend themselves as Trayvon appears to have done or to get on the ground like Oscar Grant?

You can read the rest of Amber’s article here. 

Like Amber, Time’s Joe Klein agrees that things have changed. He argues that race and racism in this country is changing in ways that we really haven’t seen before. In the past the man who got away with killing an innocent black child was white, not Hispanic and the men they killed were different than Trayvon Martin.

This is not the 1980s; race isn’t the issue it was 30 years ago. It isn’t binary–black and white–anymore. It’s a kaleidoscope now: Latinos outnumber blacks in the American population, healthy dollops of South and East Asians add to the mix, and the prospect of a nonwhite majority is just around the bend. In 2013 the jury may still be almost all white, but the shooter is Hispanic–and the evidence is cloudy. If I were a member of that jury, operating in the context of Florida’s barbaric gun laws, I might have had to vote to acquit. George Zimmerman clearly was guilty of overzealous racial profiling, but there was no definitive evidence of how the scuffle began. It was not beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was overacting in self-defense. Martin’s death is an outrage, but it is not Emmett Till or Medgar Evers.

Read the rest of Klein’s analysis of the verdict and the changing America here. 

Writers Michael Scherer and Elizabeth Dias discuss what the verdict meant to various people and how we move on from here. And lastly, Time interviewed Maya Angelou about her reaction to the verdict. She had this to say.

“That one man, armed with a gun can actually profile a young man because he is black and end up shooting him dead…It is so painful.”

She then described the psychological and international impact this verdict has on the American people.

“What is really injured, bruised, if you will, is the psyche of our national population,” Angelou said. “We are all harmed. We are all belittled, and we give to the rest of the world more ammunition to sneer at us.”

Read the rest of Maya Angelou’s interview here. And check out the rest of Time’s Trayvon coverage in the August issue.

What do you think of their decision to cover the verdict and its future implications?


Did You Know They Were Teen Moms?

July 3rd, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Teenage pregnancy isn’t exactly one of those things women tend to boast about. And in Hollywood it’s become much more common to see celebrities giving birth way past 40 as opposed to before 18. But proving that your life isn’t completely over should you find yourself expecting in your teen years, these famous women went on to achieve great success while raising youngin’s as youngin’s themselves.

‘We’re Not Going To Ruin Three Lives. We’re Going To Have A Beautiful Baby:’ Maya Angelou Talks Raising A Son At 16 With Her Mom

May 20th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

From BlackVoices

When she was just 16 years old, Maya Angelou got pregnant with her son, Guy Johnson. At a time when teen mothers were often shamed and/or pushed into marrying the baby’s father, the now-literary icon and renowned poet had a support system many other teen moms lacked. Dr. Angelou’s own mother, Vivian Baxter, never shamed her young, unmarried, pregnant daughter, instead choosing to help the teenager and support her efforts to raise her son on her own.

In this clip from Dr. Angelou’s second appearance on “Super Soul Sunday”, she opens up to Oprah about becoming a teen mom. Though Dr. Angelou says she struggled with trying to be independent and work while raising a baby, she always knew one thing: that she could return home to Vivian whenever she needed help.

“The world would throw me flat on my face with this little baby I’m trying to raise,” Dr. Angelou tells Oprah. “I would go home to Vivian Baxter. She would act as if it was the best thing that ever happened… She never, ever made me feel that I had done the wrong thing.”


Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Maya Angelou Releases 7th Memoir

April 3rd, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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maya and mom

At 84 years old, Maya Angelou is still a force to be reckoned with. The poet laureate, author and activist is releasing her seventh autobiographical memoir Mom & Me & Mom. As you might assume, it will chronicle the relationship she developed with her mother Vivian Baxter over the years.

If you’ve read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, you know that Maya originally grew up with her grandmother, who she called Mama. She wouldn’t live with her biological mother, who she called “Lady,” until later. Mom & Me & Mom explores how the initial absence of her mother impacted her as a child and then as a grown woman.

Though their relationship was not like the traditional mother and daughter Maya explained to NPR how they were able to reconnect and why she called her “Lady.”

“Well, she didn’t look like a mother to me. She didn’t remind me of my grandmother, who we called Mama. She wore lipstick. And she had record players and she played music, loudly and danced, in the middle of the dining room floor. She said after a few weeks, ‘You’re going to have to address me,’ and she asked, ‘What would you like to call me?’ I said, ‘I’d like to call you Lady, because you’re very beautiful and you sound like a lady.’ She said, ‘All right, I’ll be Lady, so everyone must address me as Lady from now on.’ So all sorts of people know her only as Lady.

“But after a few years she won me. She won me over because she was kind. And then she was also funny. So I liked all that. And she just won me over. And then I heard myself calling her Mother, and before I knew it I was calling her Mom.”


Then in another instance she recalls the time her mother attempted to discipline her when she came in the house after her curfew.

“She hit me. She had a handful of keys about 20 keys on a chain, and I came through the door, before I could say anything she hit me with her fist. My stepfather came down from upstairs to see what was happening — she was still cursing like a drunk seaman. And then my brother came down and said, ‘We’re leaving here.’ And then my mother asked, ‘Where the hmmmmm do you think you’re going?’ He said, ‘We’re leaving this house. No one beats up my baby sister.’ And she said, ‘Please come in the kitchen. Let me speak to you. Please come. Please come.’

“She took a cloth off the rack and put it down on the floor, then she knelt on the cloth and she prayed to God to forgive her. And then she prayed to me. And she cried so piteously, she said, ‘I, I, I just had come down the steps had gone to your room and you weren’t in, and it’s 2:30 or 3 o’clock in the morning, and I thought of what that man did to you in St. Louis, when you were a little girl, 7 years old, and I thought maybe someone was taking advantage of you, and I was about crazy. And then I came down the steps and just then you pushed open the door, with a big smile on your face,’ and she said, ‘I hit you before I thought of it. Please forgive me.’ I forgave her immediately.”

Sounds like another classic. Mom & Me & Mom is available in bookstores everywhere and you can read an excerpt from the memoir here. 

What To Get The Phenomenal Woman In Your Life, You: Five Near To No-Cost Gifts

December 13th, 2012 - By Zahra
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"black woman thinking pf"

Not that it is a Christmas tradition, but I read a few books almost every winter break in the way that a lot of people have books saved up for summer. Nowadays, titles that I read are not popular. I recall a time when I read and re-read Dr. Maya Angelou’s paperback books, and recited several of her poems, even winning a school award for recitation of Phenomenal Woman.  I found honest pain and impossible joy in her words. As I grew older, wanting to grow beyond taunting about my appearance, her self-made language blew my mind. Hello!, the first two lines are,

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size.”

For women of all beauties and sizes, the poem is a gift. Maya’s deft instruction to declare who we are and can be—phenomenal women—is the kind of present too big to go under a Christmas tree and too weightless to wear during Kwanzaa. In fact, it’s the kind of gift that a woman must give to herself. Not buy for her consumption, but give for her renewal. If I had to tease out chiefly what I think the poem gives us I’d said a message that what we often have no words for, our “inner mystery,” is what makes us phenomenal.
My connection with the phenomenal female persona in the poem at this time of year yields a few self-gift ideas:

Keep a journal of something you do well for each week. Brush your shoulders off when you think about it.

Write a letter (by hand…your computer won’t know) expressing emotion about what your last anger episode was really about. Address the letter to someone or thing, but don’t mail it.

Watch Waiting to Exhale. Remember Whitney at her best. Remember Angela Bassett all over again.

Watch Coming to America for a laugh and a half. Then, watch The Five Heartbeats to laugh, cry and laugh again.

Read about Black Girls Rock! On their website and find their nearest meet-up.

Buy The Black Candle. A documentary about the black experience, centered around the celebration of Kwanzaa, The Black Candle, unites several generations of black people using the stony, charismatic voice of Maya Angelou as the narrator. At $9.99 on iTunes, this is the one gift that must be purchased, with that little money burning a hole in your pocket.

During this season and beyond, your feelings and self esteem will fluctuate. When you’re feeling a little low, read Phenomenal Woman from time to time to remember how high the bar is set.

Who’da Thunk It? 15 Black Women We’re Surprised Dated/Married White Men

December 12th, 2012 - By M A
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We did the men, now it’s on to the women. We scoured the interwebs and our own treasure trove of celebrity knowledge to bring you 15 women who shocked us just a bit when they stepped out with white men.

Hold The Hell Up: 8 Red Flags To Look Out For In Your New Man

July 10th, 2012 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: Gossip On This

I am a firm believer in that saying by Maya Angelou that says “When people show you who they are believe them the first time.” This philosophy should be applied to all aspects of life; however, this should be a golden rule for women who are in the dating game. Over and over we hear women drone ” He wasn’t always like this,” or  ”He just changed on me one day out of nowhere.” No, boo, he didn’t change. He was always this way, he’s just finally showing you who he really is. As women when we first meet a man, out of eagerness, naivete and sometimes low-key desperation, we overlook major flaws and red flags just for the sake of being coupled up. Unfortunately, we usually wind up paying later with broken hearts and hurt feelings. Check out some of these red flags that should never be ignored.

He’s inconsistent 

Have you noticed that this new guy is severely inconsistent with just about everything in his life? Does he frequently speak of switching jobs, changing banks, and moving after short periods of time? This is what we call fickle. While there is nothing wrong with appreciating variety, this type of inconsistency can also come off very unstable. When a man can’t commit to anything in his life for an extended period of time it is a sign of deeper issues. If nothing in his life stays around for long, chances are, you won’t either.

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