I got the call late in the afternoon. My literary role model had moved on from this earth. I blinked hard, and my throat was sand dry, for Maya Angelou had shaped not only how I thought about the written word but how I perceived struggle and being a woman of color–phenomenally of course!
She was a brilliant word ninja, transparent in thought and feeling, and bold to tell the world her life stories. And it was with comfort and in lore that I felt connected to her experiences and reflected on her example.
There are people in this world who lovingly shape and encourage wholeness and empowerment in others, as did Maya Angelou. Her confidence and strength was dignified and appealing, and I had the feeling she wanted the same for every person who read her works.
Her “Phenomenal Woman” is, perhaps, the most solidly written anthem for a woman’s self-image. Every girl should read and believe.
Personally, I lapped up every single phrase of “Phenomenal Woman,” reading it like a mantra, wanting to believe I was, and could proudly say, “That’s me!”
In honor of Maya Angelou, enjoy the following excerpt from “Phenomenal Woman,” and please share and pass it on to all of the women in your life:
“Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
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
That’s me.” – Maya Angelou
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