My tribute to Maya Angelou for the Inspiration to be Kenyan Poet

Dr. Maya Angelou

Slightly less than 2 hours ago, I read on my twitter Timeline that Dr. Maya Angelou had passed on. Since twitter has been known to kill people who are still alive, I had to check other sources to confirm that indeed Maya had passed on.

As confirmed by her publicist through her Facebook page, the family posted the following statement

Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.

My first ever encounter with Maya Angelou was through her first novel ‘I know why the Caged Bird sings’. That became my bible in the sojourn through my poetic journey which started in 2004. In August 2006, I started this blog (back then it was I am glad that I took that bold step onto her shoulders until I found my footing and could finally let go.

I read her work , internalised it and even preferred performing it when I decided to venture into performance a few months after starting this blog.

My words were lost in hers, the use of caged birds, phenomenal women and other phrases from her writing crept onto my work like a chameleon over a rainbow of colours taking on every one of them till finally, I found my own voice.

I was born on this very day over 30 years ago, the same day that Maya Angelou took her last breath and I am not sure what it means or of if there is some profound revelation that will come to me or that I shall uncover later.

Right now, I choose to remember how my words found their voice in hers.

Rest in Peace Maya Angelou, a Phenomenal Woman.

I wrote the poem ‘Hip Hop’ in August 2008 and this is how I choose to remember Maya Angelou.

Hip hop consumes me like strawberry blues
Like the muse of Langston Hughes
Like Maya Angelou’s bird
Caging my mind into
The fuse of words of different hues
And sounds of decrypted melodic tunes
the beat
the rhythm
of Hip Hop

Hip hop consumes me like strawberry blues
Leaving me clutching on to every straw of
Flashes of its grand masters
To realize that the KRS is one, our cross is one.
Unfortunately, it most Def inetly is tad lib Common u Kweli
That Nas ty Gurus that got crunked into main streams
Are removing all consciousness
the depth,
the power,
of Hip Hop

Hip hop consumes me like strawberry blues
But like a drug addict in a rehab
Yet with no power to kick the habit,
I find you, hidden from airwaves
Like Lupe’s Fiasco,
Stashed into compact Disks
For I must inhale you into my lungs,
Let you into my brain,
pure, strong, heavy
like an aphrodisiac
you get me all high and flowetic
the gospel
of Hip Hop
Njeri Wangare
Aug. 2008
– All rights reserved©

Listen to the Audio recoring of the Poem Hip Hop-Njeri Wangari

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