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Maya Angelou Has Died

In the nearly 30-year friendship that Tavis Smiley shared with Maya Angelou, he learned the renowned writer’s views on life and how to live it to the fullest.

One year after Angelou’s death, TV and radio host Smiley is joining with Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon to develop a stage adaptation of “My Journey With Maya,” Smiley’s new memoir about the invaluable relationship.

“I haven’t been this excited by a project in a long, long time,” Leon said. “I don’t think there is another person like her in my lifetime or in the last 100 years of American artistry and literary achievement.”

Angelou, a poet, professor and author of the acclaimed 1969 autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” had much to share with a young man eager to grow, Smiley said. He was 21 and she was 58 when they first met in the mid-1980s.

“We find our path by walking it,” Angelou told him repeatedly over the years, he recounted. She also said that “nothing human is alien to me.”

“That was her way of saying, ‘Live your life on your own terms. Don’t be afraid to try anything. Experience everything,’” Smiley said.

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Tavis Smiley, Kenny Leon Developing Play About Maya Angelou was originally published on praisecleveland.com

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