I am still very raw from the news of the death of Maya Angelou. I feel and deep and profound loss because for me, she was the one, the elder, at shows feet I proverbially sat. I never got to meet her, but once, many years ago, my husband bumped into her in an airport. I was home, pregnant with our first child. He saw her and he knew about my deep love her for and he stopped, gathered his courage and approached her. She was so regal, stood so tall, as he told it, and was very glamorous in her fur coat. He said, "excuse me, I just have to tell you that my wife loves you". She replied, "I love her too". Oh my word! These are the things heroes are made of. He brought her love home to me.
In processing my sadness for the loss of a woman I find to be so iconic, I began to read her work, her quotes, and wanted to see her image. Hello... Facebook, twitter, and youtube. But youtube can be a nasty place, can't it. I stumbled across a video called The truth about Maya Angelou. In this video, a man, Stefan Molyneux, reported very many truths about Maya Angelou. And they weren't all good. In fact, many were bad. I watched the near 35 minute video with the thought in my mind, "and your point is?" In the end, his point was "don't listen to anything she said... she only preached forgiveness, to get forgiveness for herself, to unburden herself". Don't listen to her because after all her mother didn't do for her, she still loved her mother, so she must have been crazy. All of the talk of overcoming adversity is crap because her life was flawed. She said she did not break the cycle of abuse, because she did not solely raise her own child. He found her immoral, and so therefore useless as a hero. Here is the link to his video.
Mr. Molynuex has created quite a collection of "The Truth" videos. Right before Maya's video, he
did one on Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara college killer. I didn't entertain this 2 hour video, but skipped to the end, to see him put the blame on entitlement, bad parenting, autism, and racism (but I could have seriously missed something.) I don't think Mr. Molyneux is an idiot, but he seems incapable of seeing the full picture, at least where Maya Angelou is concerned. The video about Donald Sterling and racism is also interesting.... and kinda full of it.
So, I was very offended by Mr. Molyneux, and I am very offended by his kind... the people who like to post about MLK on his birthday, and drag any person with a modicum of respect in the black community through the mud. I say, drag on. You see,what makes Maya Angelou so amazing and so inspirational is the fact that her child hood completely sucked! When a child goes mute... things are bad! Her teenage years didn't get much better. Her life was difficult and even sketchy as a young adult. And still, she was the first black woman to run a streetcar in SanFrancisco, and she was the first black author to write a best seller. She did these things in spite of the fact that she was raised poorly, and didn't have a lot of self esteem in her younger years.
We don't have to believe or buy into every single thing our heroes have done and said. We only need to look at the fact that most of them have come from nowhere and still managed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and succeed anyway. That is what makes a hero. So don't let anyone steal your heroes from you.
I will leave you with the video of Maya Angelou and David Chapelle (part 4 of 4), I could take or leave Mr. Chappelle, but I find him smart and interesting. You will notice how gently she treats him and others, and how she builds them up and makes them feel special. That is what I love the most about her, and that I why her telling my husband she loves me too is so important to me... I was loved by someone who didn't know me, but who had a gift for spreading love... and so she was my hero. Nothing anyone says can take this away from me.