To celebrate the everlasting legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou on what would have been her 90th birthday, the Google team has created a visually stunning animated short that honors the prolific poet, author, and civil rights activist.
In the Doodle, Angelou’s famous “Still I Rise” poem is brought to life through splendidly vibrant illustrations. The first verse includes the voice of Maya Angelou herself, while the remainder of the poem is recited by celebrities who have been deeply inspired by the poet: Alicia Keys, Oprah Winfrey, Laverne Cox, Martina McBride, America Ferrera, and Angelou’s only son, Guy Johnson.
“Maya Angelou, I love her so much. Everything she represented as a woman, her creativity, her story, who she is. She was a renaissance woman of all types, she recreated though levels, all angles, all places in her mind. She is brilliant…I am honored to be able to say her words,” said Alicia Keys in a statement about the project.
Oprah Winfrey spoke on Angelou’s fierceness and confidence, saying, “Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she did it all. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence, and a fiery, fierce grace and abounding love,” while Laverne Cox referred to the phenomenal poet as a “national treasure,” and someone who we should always celebrate.
Guy Johnson, who worked closely with Google on the project, shared his personal thoughts on his mother and her legacy. “She saw one of our greatest challenges was learning to love ourselves, then having the courage and the wisdom to love others,” Johnson said. “She often said, “We don’t know how or why love occurs. Truthfully, we don’t know that even gravity isn’t a kind of love.” She felt that love was one of the most important emotions and was an instrumental key to unlocking the inner doors of our ignorance and fear.”
Johnson concluded his warm dedication with words that resonate and echo the spirit of his mother: “My mother’s assessment of human beings was that we were neither gods nor demons, but that we carried elements of both within ourselves; that the onus was upon each of us to control the demons of anger, jealousy and hate and find the spirit of a caring and forgiving God within our souls.”
As a philanthropist and humanitarian, Maya Angelou wished to heal the world. In a multitude of ways, she succeeded with flying colors. Through her wisdom, poetry, and activism, Angelou impacted and touched the lives of millions around the globe, while also giving a voice to the unrepresented. Eternally, we are grateful for Maya Angelou’s compassion, courage, and heart. Happy 90th birthday to a remarkable and extraordinary woman!