Welcome to our latest blog feature, Woman on Top’s #WomanOfTheWeek.
This week, it’s a no brainer.
On Wednesday, Maya Angelou would have celebrated her 90th birthday. We celebrate her for her inspirational work in literature and the arts, and for being an advocate for both civil and women’s rights.
Dr Maya Angelou’s story is nothing short of incredible. As a child, she was sexually assaulted – a topic she touched on in her first autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – long before it was a subject socially circulated. Her early occupations included fry cook, prostitute, nightclub performer, cable car conductor (San Francisco’s first coloured female to do so) and journalist. She went on work with both Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr, fighting for equal racial rights. She marched for women with Gloria Steinem.
She wrote poetry, choreographed alongside dancers such as Ruth Beckford and Alvin Ailey and starred in a touring opera. She wrote songs for the likes of Roberta Flack, as well as TV scripts, documentaries, plays and poetry, as well as a grand total of seven autobiographies. Maya Angelou was also one of the first African-American female members in the Directors Guild of America
She has inspired, and continues to inspire, huge generations of people.