Maya Angelou may have passed away in 2014, but she still remains a relevant voice in our culture today.
This became readily apparent when an old clip of Angelou correcting a young girl on how the legendary author should be addressed resurfaced, sparking a trending debate about respect on Twitter.
The interview said to be from 1990 — according to Newsweek — shows a young girl asking Angelou a question about interracial dating. But within the question, the young lady addresses Angelou as “Maya” — and Angelou politely indicated that she wasn’t having it.
“Thank you,” Angelou says in the clip. “And first, I’m Ms. Angelou. I’m not Maya. I’m 62 years old. I’ve lived so long and tried so hard that a young woman like you, or any other, has no license to come up to me and call me by my first name.”
She continues: “That’s first. Also, because at the same time, I’m your mother, I’m your auntie, I’m your teacher, I’m your professor. See?”
The clip gained attention when it was posted by a Twitter user, “Mr. Girth of A Nation” who said he “can’t wait to turn 30 so I can read one of yall for calling me by my first name like this,” he captioned the post.
Surprisingly, the reaction to the video was varied, with some agreeing with Angelou, and others saying she was wrong.
I love this Maya Angelou conversation because it’s also revealing who more naturally identifies as a child versus an adult. Ms. Angelou was talking to a child, a 14 year-old, not YOU — an adult that just seems to mostly identify as a 14 year-old. y’all took that personal as hell.
Angelou died after from heart complication in 2014 at the age of 86. By her death, she had won numerous awards for her writing, including three Grammy awards, a Pulitzer and a Tony nomination. She is best known for her memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”