My good friend and client, CA, sent me this clip, which prompted me to watch the full Iconoclast episode. I just love the genuine reaction to each other, the wonderment of peering into a different generation from such opposing points of view, or not.
Just like Chappelle, I hung on each word. I find her remarkable and stunning, in both speech and presence. I took notes. Here are six more things for Dr. Angelou to school us on: the icon, keeping it real, anger, making it, words, and boundaries.
Maya Angelou on the Icon, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King:
That’s the wonderful thing about the icon; you continue to grow. And you develop courage, the most important of all the virtues. Because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. If you’ve seen another truth and had enough courage to change your way of thinking; to say, “Hey everybody, you know what I said last week? I don’t believe that anymore. That little child just straightened me out.”
Maya Angelou on keeping it real:
This is why it’s dangerous to make any person seem larger than life. Because a young person coming up sees this larger than life figure, this outrageously gigantic personality, and has to say, “I can never do that. I can never be that.” You see? When the truth is those men and those women were in the right place at the right time and got hold of something and something caught hold of them.
What was it, 8 or 9 assassinations [in the 60″s]? Having lived through that, having known those people, I’d imagine I’d still be angry.
Maya Angelou on anger:
You should be angry but, mind you, you must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer; it eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. Now you said anger, yes. You write it, you dance it, you paint it, you march it, you vote it, you do everything about it. You talk it; never stop talking about it.
Maya Angelou on “making it”:
I attribute it to love. Love is a condition so powerful it may be that which holds the stars in the firmament it may be that which pushes and urges the blood in the veins. Courage; you have to have courage to love something, because you risk everything.
I believe a word is a thing. It is non-visible and audible only for the time it’s there. It hangs in the air. But I believe it is a thing, I believe it goes into the upholstery. And then to the rugs and into my hair and into my clothes and finally even into my body. I believe that words are things and I live on them.
It’s important if not, in fact, imperative that each knows that there is a line beyond which you will not go. When lots of money is dangled in front of people’s eyes, they will tell you yes when they mean no!
But the thing is that you have some place that nobody, kiss nor kin, can take you beyond. Somewhere in the bend of your elbow. Nobody.
I leave you with this: Pick one lesson to marinate on for a day or two. Chew on it a bit. If we could all just be a little more aware, a little more honest, and a little more steadfast in our beliefs we too could, as Dr. Angelou put it, be somebody.
Thank you, CA! xo