A memorial to honor the life and legacy of Maya Angelou was held at Riverside Church in New York City Friday, Sept. 12.
The event was organized by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Angelou’s family, and The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College. Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni and former first lady, Hillary Clinton took the stage, along with Angelou’s son Guy Johnson, to remember the beloved poet, who passed away on May 28. She was 86.
“God surely outdid himself the day he molded Maya Angelou,” said Clinton during her remarks. “Being in a room with her was like being in the room with the Mona Lisa.”
The other speakers echoed Clinton’s admiration of Angelou and shared memories of their time with the late poet. Johnson recalled fighting with Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X over his mother’s fried chicken at Angelou’s house in Ghana. Morrison shared how “she encouraged serenity with her laugh.”
Giovanni recited a poem in Angelou’s honor and Valerie Simpson sang a rendition of “I’m Every Woman” mixed with audio of “Phenomenal Woman.”
Watch video from the memorial above.