Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I can remember several occasions in which I was rendered speechless. There is no doubt about it, life can send us some curve balls. The question is how do we handle them? I grew up in a house were art was fully appreciated and encouraged to engage in. My mother is a big fan of art, creativity, and expression. In our household my siblings and I grew up watching classical greats such as:
On The Town (1949) starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra
Singin In The Rain (1952) starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds
A Raisin In The Sun (1961) Sidney Poitier
The list is endless. I get excited just mentioning these classical greats! There is no doubt that these movies had a influence on me. I remember at the age of ten watching a particular movie. This movie was not like the ones mentioned above. This one had a different impact upon me, altering the way I'd viewed creative expression and life. Based on true events the movie depicted the life of a young African American girl and her brother.
Due to difficult circumstances the siblings were sent to live with relatives in the south. The little girl had a big voice at an early age as she was very intelligent. Her passion was reading and writing. It was clear she was destined for greatness. Sadly a tragedy had befallen the little girl, causing her voice to become silent. Literally. She stop talking for a period of time. What a curb ball. It seemed nothing could bring back her voice. Nothing except for the passion of the written word. It was a process but she did found her voice again.
Who is she? She is legend. She art. She is history. She is the great Maya Angelou. The movie was I know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I am a believer that everyone should have a quote or two to inspire them in their lives. Dr. Angelou's quotes are embedded in me, and I utilize them according to situations. Truth be told, I quote them just because. I am right now feeling still I rise. I remember watching a young girl (perhaps ten years old) performing this poem on “Show Time At The Apollo” I was twelve or thirteen years of age. I purposed in my heart, that one day, I too would perform that poem.
Immediately I set out to find out who penned that piece. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was the great Dr. Maya Angelou herself! I have been a fan, advocate, and admire since then. Thank you Dr. Angelou. Please do enjoy all over again “Still I Rise” below.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.