The book is an autobiography and the story of Angelou’s childhood. Born to a poor African American family, Maya and her brother Bailey spend the first years of life living with their grandmother in a small town in the American south. Though she is dealing with abandonment issues and the pervasive prejudice of the time (which unfortunately still exists today), Maya still finds joy and pleasure in learning.
Her life is forever altered when she is assaulted by a much older man after returning to her mother in St. Louis. Later, as a teenager who by then is living in San Fransisco, she discovers the power of literature and the strength that comes when you learn to love yourself.
Why I have never read this book, I don’t know. But I am glad I did.
Her experience as a girl is both universal and powerfully specific to the era she grew up in. Finding confidence, especially after a hard girlhood, sometimes only occurs long after we have grown up. Looking back at my own teenage years, I wish I would have had the ability to develop that same self-belief that Angelou was able to manifest at that same age. Perhaps some things might have turned out differently.
I can only imagine the emotional digging it took to excavate the crap from her youth and put it into a narrative that we can all find something in common. It takes courage to do that. When it is done well (as she obviously has accomplished), it opens the door for readers to possibly do the same with their own lives and emotional baggage.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is available wherever books are sold.
Criticism is relative. Depending on whose mouth it comes from and the tone of what is being said, it can either be helpful or hurtful.
As an example, good criticism (otherwise known as constructive criticism) can help us grow. I’ve been a member of a writing group since 2015. The purpose of attendance is not be cruel, but to improve our writing skills. An example of bad criticism is the shit that television personality Piers Morgan has heaped on Megan Markle. After the interview with Markle and Prince Harry aired on Sunday, Morgan continued to dump on her. When he was called out for his comments on air, he took an adult temper tantrum, stormed off stage, and promptly quit his job.
“I think people forget, he’s in a position because they pay him for his opinion. He’s a royalist, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The generation he was born into, we were all taught to be royalists. We were all taught at school…You fight for your Queen and your country.”
Loyalty to one’s home country is one thing. However, when someone like Morgan ( i.e. a while male in a position of power) uses his platform to openly and constantly denounce a woman (especially a woman of color), that is a bridge too far.
I’m going to end this post with a tweet from Bette Midler, but she is awesome.
The fairy tale books we are read to when we are young present images of royal perfection. Though the characters exist within this world have problems, those issues are resolved by the time the story ends. But that is fiction. But, as we all now, real life is not as simple.
The overwhelming message I got is that the family, known as “the firm” is an institution that is more concerned with the external image than the well-being of individual members. The treatment of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, contains more than enough evidence of that fact. The thing about intuitions is that while tradition is all well and good, one must roll with the times. Just because something was rolled under the rug two or three generations ago does not mean that rolling it under the rug now is going to make it any easier to deal with.
I appreciated both Meghan and Harry’s honesty. It must have been cathartic to get all of that off of their chest, especially in front of an international audience. I also appreciate that instead of being a tabloid-ish tell-all, there were some boundaries. Harry could have easily revealed who made the awful comment about his son’s potential complexion. Instead, he chose to keep that information private.
I have nothing but admiration for the both of them. The problem with a toxic environment is that it is often too familiar. It takes a lot of courage to step into the unknown and even more courage to emotionally move on from what is keeping us from living a full and happy life.
For the daytime talk show genre, the icon is Oprah Winfrey and TheOprah Winfrey Show (1986-2011). On the air for twenty five years, the show tackled a variety of topics. They ranged from an interview with a celebrity hawking their latest project to real world issues such as racism and religious diversity.
I rarely watched this program. However, when I watched it, I felt like I was in the room with a friend. The success of this show comes from Oprah herself. She is down to earth, respectful of her audience, respectful of her guests and understands that the viewer is hungry for more than the latest filler from Hollywood.
Last night’s Golden Globes awards was certainly one for the history books. Instead of being the par for the course Hollywood awards ceremony, it had a different feel. Frankly, it’s about dam time.
With most in attendance wearing black and the #metoo and #timesup movements prominently featured, it was a moment of reckoning. Things are going to change. Not just in Hollywood, but in our world. It doesn’t matter if you sit at a desk all crunching numbers, if you work the front counter of a fast food joint or if you’re an A list actress. We deserve to be treated as equal human beings with the rights, privileges and opportunities as our male counterparts. We deserve everything a man gets and should be treated as nothing less than equal. And if we have to fight for it, so be it. As the late, great Shirley Chisholm once said:
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
I’m going to end this post with Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance the Cecil B. de Mille award because, well she is Oprah and I wouldn’t mind voting for her come 2020.
In an episode titled “The Puppy Episode”, Ellen comes out of the closet to her therapist (played by Oprah Winfrey), to her crush Susan (played by guest star Laura Dern) and to the world.
It was nothing short of world-changing. Coming out of the closet is far from easy, but Ellen made it that much easier. The influence of that single sentence heard around the world is priceless. Without Ellen, not only would LGBTQ fictional characters remain secondary characters, but people in the closet in real life might never have had the courage to be themselves and fight for their rights.
Thank you Ellen DeGeneres for being yourself and encouraging others to do the same. Our world is a better place because of you.
I hate to say it, but we all fail once in a while. Whether is because of poor judgement, lack of knowledge or another reason, we all fail at least once.
One of the podcasts I listen to regularly is on a website entitled Problogger. Run by Darren Rowse, a successful blogger who has found a way to earn a living as a blogger, he talks about anything and everything that has to do with blogging.
This week’s podcast was about how to overcome failure in six steps. The thing that struck me about not only the subject of the podcast, but the suggestions laid out, is that the steps don’t just apply to bloggers and blogging. They can be used by anyone for any aspect of their life.
Failure is hard. It’s depressing, it’s ego bruising and not a fun experience to say the least. But we all go through it and the old adage is true. What doesn’t kill us really does make us stronger.
One of the most comforting thing I’ve heard about failure came from Oprah Winfrey. A failure is merely a course correction. Of course it’s difficult, but sometimes it is necessary.
I highly recommend this particular episode to all of my readers and Problogger in general to anyone who has a blog or is considering starting a blog. The experience will be well worth it.
Today I saw the new Lee Daniels movie, The Butler.
The Butler is story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a man who was born and raised in the cotton field of Georgia and worked for three decades as a White House Butler. His wife, Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) tries to support her often working husband while raising their sons Louis (David Oyelowo) and Charlie.
Against the backdrop of the Civil rights movements and Cecil’s disagreement with his oldest son, Cecil works for eight Presidents starting with Dwight Eisenhower (Robin Williams) and ending with Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman).
This movie clocks in at 2 hours and 12 minutes. In most cases, I dislike movies that go over 2 hours, but in this case, it was well worth it.
I foresee that this movie will gain both nominations and awards come award season, especially Whitaker, Winfrey and Oyelowo.