Top 3 Most Compelling Interviews from Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is one of my most loving feminist figures. Every word she spills out sounds to me like poetry. Check her out in these heart-warming interviews!

You’ve probably heard about Maya Angelou, at least through her famous autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, poet, and civil rights activist, who wrote books tackling racism, gender and power relations, identity, as well as family. Angelou has seven autobiographies published, along with three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received many awards and more than 50 honorary degrees, and her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. To me, Angelou is a goddess of the speaking and written word. That is why I try to both read her and listen to her from time to time. The following includes my top three favorite videos, where I see Angelou as her most authentic self, empowering people through her stories.


Interview with Maya Angelou by Hannah Mayo

Here, Angelou talks gracefully about just how similar we, as human beings are. The interview is so powerful; you can tell by the look of the interviewer that Angelou’s words touch straight to the heart. She talks about the importance of having love as a present feeling in our life, to give it and receive it in order to make us better and more empathetic. She calls on us to acknowledge that all of us know each other’s joy, pain, and grief, that we have a special connection, and that our differences are only superficial.


Maya Angelou’s Interview on HARDtalk BBC News by Tim Sebastian

In this interview, I was amazed to hear how Angelou had embraced the process of aging, with immense positivity, wise thoughts, and openness toward a different context of sensuality. Here, you can get a grasp of how she managed her anger throughout a childhood filled with discrimination and racism, and how she thrived despite it all. “I don’t harbor and nurture, a little kernel of bitterness, oh no I don’t,” she adds, “because bitterness eats its host alive”.


Maya Angelou – One On One (1983). Interview for ABC News

Now, this is one of the rawest and my most favorite Angelou’s interviews. I personally love how she shares her entire childhood with such melancholy, with such strength in her words. I especially love how she replies so gracefully, to the questions often so cold and tendentious of the interviewer, including those related to her trauma. In this interview, Angelou recites one of my most favorite poems of hers: A Good Woman Feeling Bad:

“The blues may be the life you’ve led

Or midnight hours’ in

An empty bed. But persecuting

Blues I’ve known

Could stalk

Like tigers, break like bone.

Pend like rope in

A gallows tree,

Make me curse

My pedigree,

Bitterness thick on

A rankling tongue,

A psalm to love that’s

Left unsung.

Rivers heading north

But ending South,

Funeral music

In a going-home mouth.

All riddles are blues,

And all blues are sad,

And I’m only mentioning

Some blues I’ve had.”



Photo: Royyan Wijaya/Shutterstock


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