Article in brief: The author shares what Maya Angelou meant for her and her special tribute to Maya.
In a recorded interview with the comedian Dave Chapelle, Maya Angelou, hold on, the late Maya Angelou said, “it is dangerous to make anyone larger than life, because a young person sees that personality and thinks I can never do that”. She went on to elaborate that people become icons because they happened to be at the right place at the right time and they grabbed a hold of the situation.
I’ll come back to the point of icons in a bit. But first, let me tell you about my history with Maya. I was introduced to Maya Angelou in a class I took when I was in university. I minored in English and some of the pre-requisite classes that were required for the minor were folklore classes. Something about the African American folklore class lured me to take a second class to complement the first one. The history, the struggles, the people, their clothes, their words, their music, basically everything about them was enchanting. It helped me understand so much about who African Americans are and is something most of us don’t knowledge or don’t know about.
Maya was a lot of things to a lot of people, but for most of us, it was her humbleness that touched our hearts. She enriched our minds with books, poetry and her wisdom. She taught us how to be strong, how to be human. She left an impression that many world leaders today would fail to even reach half her level of intellect or contributions to mankind.
Every once in a while, I think God places people in life who aren’t connected physically to just connect with you in any other way. We praise a lot of things, a lot of materialistic things and we connect with things that cost us money, but sometimes we fail to connect with humanity for fear of disappointment, or anger, or anything else but Maya told us to embrace anger, or any other emotion that we are told not to feel instead of bottling it up. But embrace it in a good way, talk about your anger, write about it, sing it in a song, as long as you feel it.
So back to icons, who are they? Why do we have them? Why do we create them? Is it a sense of need to create someone to look up to? What if they fail you? Todays’ icons are Lady Gaga and Rihanna, who are setting the trend of what culture and fashion should be. People use lyrics off their songs to express their emotions. Are those the icons we are creating? Are we meant to promote these icons because we are moving with the trend? Where are the Mayas of the world? How can we make more of those? Or have we lost our icon compass?
Are these new “icons” paving the way for the way we should act? Are they spreading positivity amongst us or even teaching us things worth learning?
Maya wasn’t my icon but she was someone I respected. I respected and continue to respect her work, her contributions, her passion for life, her troubles and how she overcame them with positivity.
A lot of people have asked me who my role models are and sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint one, I love characteristics in certain people and if I had to name my ideal icons or role models, it would be a combination of several people. But I would certainly give tribute to the ones who have impacted my life in a positive way.
Aida has more than a decade experience in the communications, and mastering ceremonies field, she worked in private and public sectors, and now heads the Stakeholder Communications in Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai. Aida was a columnist in few of the local newspapers, a TV co-host of a community talk show, and cofounded with friends a community platform: “Promise Of A Generation”.
Latest posts by Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy) (see all)
- Holi-STAY – The Rise of Staycations! - July 13, 2017
- I’m Not SORRY … And I Don’t Apologize For This Piece! - May 3, 2016
- Women Empowerment (WOW-Man) - March 1, 2015