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Me & Maya Angelou: My Writing as Urban Legend

As a writer I have nothing but respect, admiration and possibly a straight up girl crush on Maya Angelou. So imagine my surprise when I received an email from a woman who investigates Urban Legends in some online forums, notifying me that my last post Today I Cried for Lost Black Boys: Sadness for Michael,  (see below) was being posted on several blogs as one of the Michael Jackson inspired poems of Maya Angelou!! Maya Angelou y’all!! And getting good reviews!

I’m extremely flattered. The post even made it to the Urban Legends discussion on Internet giant about.com. Here’s the problem: at the end of my post, I quoted one of my favorite Maya Angelou-isms, " Now aint we bad? And ain’t we black? And ain’t we fine?"–Maya Angelou.

I put the final line in quotes because as a journalist i know how to do proper attribution. But someone else took the whole post and attributed to Maya Angelou. One blog post even called it, An Open Letter from Maya Angelou. Geesh! 

Here are a few of those places:

http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?nav=messages&webtag=ab-urbanlegends&tid=9977

http://kaganof.com/kagablog/2009/07/15/openletter-by-maya-angelou/

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/the-clubhouse/436754-michael-jackson-has-passed-away-rip-the-king-of-pop-16.html 

At the end of the day, I’m so pleased to see my work appreciated and to see the power of the Internet to spread our voices as Black mothers. And to be even incorrectly considered among the leagues of Maya Angelou is my new favorite faux-pas. Ever! 

 

 

 

Comments
5 Responses to “Me & Maya Angelou: My Writing as Urban Legend”
  1. elayne says:

    (c: Just to clarify one point – the discussion at ULF on About.com wasn’t actually perpetuating the misattribution… One of the regulars there, another debunker, had received it in her email (attributed to Maya Angelou), didn’t think that was correct, and posted it in the hopes that we could track it down and get credit to the proper author – you.

    I told her yesterday that I would go nuts knowing that I had written something so powerful and moving that it was blazing across the whole internet… but being attributed to the wrong author, even one as estimable as Dr. Angelou! I’m glad you’re more sanguine and flattered by it all. (c:

    I did find it mis-attributed yesterday on a blog written by someone who bills himself “the world’s oldest blogger,” a man born in 1912. Quite a wide range of appeal!

  2. Lynn says:

    As a fellow girl crushing on Ms. Angelou, I must say that is a big ol KUDOS on your part. Awkward, but I’d take it. I was so moved by your post, while not a mommy I follow your blog religiously and all I can say is keep up the good work!

    • Kimberly says:

      thanks Lynn. you’re so right, to be confused with Maya Angelou is indeed a good day!! Thanks for the kudos and keep on reading!

  3. Kyle says:

    Your letter was posted on a parenting forum I frequent. I am not a mother of color, but the sentiment you express is universal. We all want our children to feel comfortable in their own skins. As a mom I can appreciate how difficult it was for Katherine Jackson to see her son so tortured. Tonight I’ll hug my big-eyed blondies and pray they grow up loving themselves for who they are.

    Thank you for your very wise and eloquent words.

  4. Mrs. Nichols says:

    Hey lady! This is my first time here but I wanted to tell you that I love the blog! The layouts, first of all, look amazing. But the content is great. I just got married in May and while I am not a mother yet, I’m am definitely taking notes for when that time comes. Smooches.

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