Dr. Maya Angelou has passed, and my heart is heavy. Dr. Angelou was, undoubtedly, my greatest poetic inspiration, and if you’ve ever read any of her works, I’m sure you can understand why. I am a minimalistic person who loves words and that’s one of the reasons her work resonated with me. Hearing Maya Angelou speak moved me, and seeing/hearing such beautiful work come from a face the same color as mine, empowered me.
For the past year I have ghostwritten for others, blogged privately, and typed pages of stories and poems that remain on my laptop. I have been afraid to place my face on my website and I have avoided putting personal stories and thoughts about my faith on my professional blog out of fear that those who didn’t share my beliefs wouldn’t hire me. But, hiding is exhausting, and last night I took cues from a few mentors and the inspiration of my literary influences, and decided to place all of my work here, and to put my face with my name. I decided to honor my gift, honor those who inspire me, and to honor myself.
To my aunt Margaret, whose library was the first I’d ever seen of its kind, and to whom I continue to write to make proud. To Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni who wrote to be read by me and who generously shared their art with the world. To my mom, who purchased my first journal, who continues to encourage my writing, and who always taught me to stand proudly. I apologize for hiding and I am forever grateful for your contributions to the world and my life.
Ms. Angelou, thank you for your beautiful life and body of work.