Black History Month is a time to remember those who gave us Black excellence.
Bill and Hillary took the stage in Harlem up to honor the legendary contribution of poet Dr. Maya Angelou. On February 16, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture threw a celebration of Angelou's life and career in anticipation of the new PBS documentary “American Masters ― Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.”
Surprisingly enough, this is the first feature length documentary made about Maya Angelou's life, and PBS no doubt did a stellar job doing her justice. A roster of celebs like Oprah Winfrey, Common, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones and yes, Bill and Hillary Clinton all appear in the film to talk about Dr. Angelou's unparalleled influence on the world. President Clinton chose Maya Angelou to come to the podium at his 1993 inauguration where she recited a poem called "On the Pulse of the Morning." She was the first black female poet to speak at a presidential inauguration.
Both Clintons spoke about Dr. Angelou's influence on their lives and careers. Hillary said: “I was so personally grateful for her advice and support to me for a number of years and experiences...She and I had a wonderful time at Wake Forest in 2008. We did more laughing than talking, which I think conveyed to the students something about the resilience and enthusiasm for life that she wanted them to understand.”
The Obamas also had a deep appreciation for Maya Angelou. In 2010 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which President Obama presented to her in 2011.
And when she passed away in 2014, FLOTUS Michelle Obama delivered a beautiful tribute at Dr. Angelou's funeral service.
We all know the Obamas are adjusting to private life and enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation, which may be why the Clintons stepped in at this event. In any case, Dr. Maya Angelou certainly left her mark on America, which can be proved by her importance to two different presidential administrations.
“American Masters ― Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise" premiered on February 21 on PBS. Be sure to check it out.