Besides her work as a poet, civil rights activist, singer, and philanthropist, Maya Angelou’s art transcended generations because of her constant personal quest to connect, understand, and embrace a younger generation of African-American men and women.
From collaborating with Boyz In The Hood director John Singleton on the 1993 classic Poetic Justice, to sharing thoughts and ideas with famed comedian Dave Chappelle for Sundance’s Iconoclasts, Maya Angelou made it her priority to spread wisdom and love to the “hip-hop generation.”
In honor of her life and accomplishments, we decided to celebrate Maya by highlighting her coolest hip-hop moments.
Rest in power, Dr. Angelou.
She collaborated with Common on his 2011 track “The Dreamer.”
And sat down with Common to have a discussion about the plight of black men.
Maya Angelou mentored Tupac Shakur, made him weep, & later referred to him as “Six Pack” in an interview.
Atlanta rapper T.I. attended her 80th birthday party.
She assisted director John Singleton on the set of the classic 1993 film Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac.
2. "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." - Maya Angelou
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3. Maya Angelou is pictured in an undated photo with poet Langston Hughes. From her Facebook: "Langston Hughes and I are enjoying each other."
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4. President Barack Obama kisses poet and author Maya Angelou after giving her the 2010 Medal of Freedom.
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5. "My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return." -Maya Angelou
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6. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou
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7. “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.” -Maya Angelou
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8. "I speak to the Black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition — about what we can endure, dream, fail at and survive." -Maya Angelou
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9. "It’s in the click of my heels. The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand. The need for my care. ’Cause I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That’s me." -Maya Angelou
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10. Maya Angelou pictured with her own "phenomenal woman," her mother Vivian Baxter Johnson.
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11. Maya Angelou pictured with her own "phenomenal woman," her mother Vivian Baxter Johnson.
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12. "Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame I rise" -Maya Angelou
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13. Maya Angelou pictured with her own "phenomenal woman," her mother Vivian Baxter Johnson.
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14. Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou speak during the BET Honors 2012 at the Warner Theatre on January 14, 2012.
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15. Dr. Angelou pictured with the late civil rights and women's activist, Dorothy Height.
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16. "Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option." -Maya Angelou
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17. "You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise." -Maya Angelou
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18. "You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise" -Maya Angelou
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19. "Have enough courage to trust love one more time. And always one more time." -Maya Angelou
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20. "I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life." -Maya Angelou
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21. Maya Angelou pictured with rapper Common at her 82nd birthday. Common has been vocal about her influence, releasing "The Dreamer" in 2011 featuring the poet.
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22. Dr. Angelou with her mentee, Oprah Winfrey. Shortly after the poet's death on May 28th, 2014, Winfrey released this statement: "I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister and friend since my 20s...I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds."