Maya Angelou was an artist who wasn't held back by disciplines, mediums or politics. During her 86 years she redefined the memoir with her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, broke color barriers with her portrayal of the White Queen on Jean Genet’s 1961 play The Blacks, and helped introduced America to the sounds of Calypso, among many other achievements. A singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, it's no wonder she was once described as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” because she lived through it all and kept growing as an artist, branching out whenever inspiration struck her.
Watch American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise below.
In celebration of KQED's airing of American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise on Feb. 21 at 8pm, we here at KQED Arts want to highlight her body of work and her time in San Francisco, especially. We also wanted to harness her inspiration, so we've commissioned original pieces from local writers of color.