Illustration for article titled After 90 Years, Maya Angelou’s Legacy Is Still Rising
Photo: Steve Exum (Getty Images)

“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.”

—Maya angelou, from “Still I Rise”


Poet, author, singer, dancer, director and civil rights activist Maya Angelou would have been 90 years old today. In her 86 years of life, the incredible artist born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis published seven autobiographies and several books of poetry and essays, and received more than 50 honorary degrees, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, three Grammy awards, and nominations for both a Tony award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Remarkably, she was also San Francisco’s first black female streetcar conductor, the first black poet (and first poet in 31 years) to recite at an American presidential inauguration, a former sex worker, former dance partner of Alvin Ailey, a mentor and a mother.


To celebrate what would have been her 90th birthday—which, coincidentally, falls on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death—Google has honored Angelou with her own Google doodle, featuring perhaps her most famous poem, “Still I Rise,” narrated by a number of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys and Laverne Cox, Angelou’s son Guy Johnson and the poet herself.

The Glow Up is proud to salute the incredible artist known as Maya Angelou, and thanks to her for showing us what phenomenal womanhood looks like.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, an avid eyeshadow enthusiast and always her own muse. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter