Friends and family members will have a chance to fondly remember the life of Dr. Maya Angelou during her memorial service Saturday morning. But the public can recount her legacy, too.
Though the private service will be held at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, it will be televised, with OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network simulcasting it on TV and on Oprah.com at www.Oprah.com/MayaAngelou, according to an OWN press release. It will begin at 10 a.m. EST. XFINITY’s black entertainment site, CelebrateBlackTV.com, also will link to the service via Oprah.com.
Oprah Winfrey and Angelou were very close, having met more than 30 years ago when Winfrey was a young journalist. The media maven recently shared her thoughts about Angelou’s death and how the two met with “Entertainment Tonight.” Angelou, born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis on April 4, 1928, lived a very extraordinary life that saw her survive childhood rape, teen pregnancy and other obstacles to become one of the most respected individuals in recent history. The famed poet and author, known for her best-selling memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” was also a civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer. She read “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s 1993 presidential inauguration, becoming the second poet to present at such an event. President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2011, and said the poet had inspired his mother to name his sister Maya. She died in her Winston-Salem, N.C. home early in the morning on May 28. She was 86.
Winfrey released the following statement about Angelou’s passing:
“I’ve been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20s. She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give’ is one of my best lessons from her. She won three Grammys, spoke six languages and was the second poet in history to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration. But what stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.”
OWN is encouraging social media users to join in the conversation online, by using #HonoringMaya. Watch Winfrey’s “Entertainment Tonight” interview below.