April 4th, 2018

As we spend what would have been my mother’s ninetieth birthday, I think of her melodious tones speaking about the need for tolerance, understanding, forgiveness and love.  My mother’s perspective was that human beings being social animals are strongest when they are unified. She saw hatred and greed, not only as divisive, but as the forces of evil.  She recognized that unlike positive virtues, neither greed nor hatred has to be taught; they come naturally and have to be untaught in order to free their possessor of their burdensome weight and baggage.  She saw one of our greatest challenges was learning to love ourselves, then having the courage and the wisdom to love others. She often said, “We don’t know how or why love occurs. Truthfully, we don’t know that even gravity isn’t a kind of love.”  She felt that love was one of the most important emotions and was an instrumental key to unlocking the inner doors of our ignorance and fear.

My mother’s principal message was one of inclusiveness; that despite our ethnic, religious and cultural differences, we are more alike than unalike.  She saw all our differences in language, orientation and perspective as an indication of the richness of our imagination and creativity, and as elements of our nature that we should celebrate.  She believed that we are all images of God, no matter how we look or what name we use to call upon the Divine and Sacred Being.

She saw that the world was in need of our attention and effort; from the hunger and poverty that are present in so many countries, to our wars, internecine conflicts and indiscriminate terroristic acts, to the destructive pollution, deforestation and the reduction of the biodiversity of the life forms around us.  Our planet is crying out for help. My mother would say, ‘Don’t just complain about the problems you see and do nothing; roll up your sleeves and get to work finding solutions and remedies. We do a disservice to our children and to the future by not addressing the problems that confront us. Nor should our efforts for change be thwarted or stifled by the obstacles arrayed against us.  We must steel ourselves with courage and perseverance and battle on for what is right.” For my mother the most important virtue was courage, because without courage none of the other virtues can be practiced consistently.

My mother did not herself go to college to pursue a degree. Although, as she rose in stature, as a public figure she was awarded Honorary Doctorates by more than fifty major universities and colleges.  She understood education was extremely important; to that end she was a voracious reader, consuming two to three books a week from the time she was a teenager until her vision failed in her eighties. She used to ask me, “Can you imagine what the world would be like if all children on earth had access to a good education and were allowed to let their inner lights glow?  Oh, we would have the cure to cancer and remedies to most of the major problems that confront us. The knowledge that would be generated by that level of brain power would give us access to the stars, to the universe as well as to our dreams.”

My mother’s assessment of human beings was that we were neither gods nor demons, but that we carried elements of both within ourselves; that the onus was upon each of us to control the demons of anger, jealousy and hate and find the spirit of a caring and forgiving God within our souls.  

Today’s #GoogleDoodle celebrates Dr. Maya Angelou’s 90th birthday! Set to her poem #StillIRise, the video Doodle includes her own voice along with the voices of other individuals whose lives she has inspired.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

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We celebrate the re-release of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, with a foreword by “daughter-friend” Oprah Winfrey. We celebrate a book that changed the nation and eventually the world by giving a young black girl a voice, once lost then freed to sing the song of all people.

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MESSAGE FROM THE FAMILY

Developing a love of truth, standing for civil rights, enjoying life itself and recording the experience, our matriarch became an inspiration. Maya Angelou’s words, spoken, on the printed page or reflected here, continue to promote self-examination, equality and friendship. Believing that “we are more alike than unalike”, Maya Angelou would be the first to say that as a child of God it was her duty to recognize that everyone else was also a child of God, “Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory.”

Join us as we celebrate a life well lived! Take time to read, listen, view and be inspired. Trail your wisps of glory and once you’ve clicked every page, make sure you return as we continue to expand the experience. Together, let’s celebrate life and joy!

The Angelou Johnson Family

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise


Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise is the first documentary about Dr. Maya Angelou. The Maya Angelou Documentary will reflect on how the events of history, culture, and the arts shaped Dr. Angelou’s life and how she, in turn, helped shape our own worldview through her autobiographical literature and activism. We hope to shed light on the untold aspects of her life and to educate audiences about her story. – LEARN MORE HERE – – WATCH VIDEO INTERVIEW –

MAYA ANGELOU

CMG Worldwide

CMG pioneered representation for deceased celebrities through our legal expertise and created an opportunity for a deceased celebrity’s heirs to retain rights. With over 200 celebrities, it has the largest portfolio of legends to this day. There can be no substitute for experience and skill in the licensing world. CMG’s position as the industry leader gives an advantage that other agencies are simply not able to match.