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What People are Saying about Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou touched numerous people during her lifetime.

After her passing on Wednesday, many notable celebrities and politicians took to social media and other platforms to express their thoughts about the beloved poet.

President Barack Obama:

“Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.  Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things – an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer.  But above all, she was a storyteller – and her greatest stories were true.  A childhood of suffering and abuse actually drove her to stop speaking – but the voice she found helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds, and inspired the rest of us to be our best selves.  In fact, she inspired my own mother to name my sister Maya.”

Vice President Joe Biden:

Dr. Maya Angelou wrote that “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived. However, if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Few people lived with more courage and taught us more about the lessons of our history than she did.  Through her own life and through our country’s struggle for civil rights—through the sting of segregation, the denial of the ballot box and rights of women, through the violence of billy clubs and bullets—Dr. Angelou’s prophetic words and resonant voice taught us about the unyielding power of love, equality, and justice for all.  She was not only a recorder of history, but she was the conscience of a movement that pushed the country forward. Jill and I were honored to have met her and learned from her. We are saddened by her loss and join millions of people from around the country who will re-read her words with heavier hearts, but unbowed spirits to carry on the pursuit toward that more perfect union she gave voice to and inspired as the hero among us.

Attorney General Eric Holder:

“Dr. Angelou was much more than a literary genius, a chronicler of Jim Crow, and a witness to history.  Through her extraordinary work, she captured the tenacity of the human spirit and spoke of harsh realities in the most evocative, moving, and lyrical of ways.  Over the course of a career spanning some of the most tumultuous decades of the last century, she taught us how to rise above ‘a past that’s rooted in pain.’  She gave voice to a people too often shut out of America’s public discourse.  She displayed remarkable courage in the face of tremendous adversity.  And she inspired generations to overcome life’s greatest challenges – through her extensive writings, her performances, her advocacy, her educational work, and her principled activism.”

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey:

“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.”

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry:

Today Show co-host Tamron Hall:

Singer Mary J. Blige:

Life coach Iyanla Vanzant:

Singer John Legend: