There’s very little that can be said about Maya Angelou that hasn’t been said before. As a pioneer in autobiographical fiction and renowned poet, Angelou created a voice for black female authors of the 1960s with her honesty and profound perceptions on life and culture making an indelible mark on contemporary literature. As a composer, actor, playwright and civil-rights activist, Angelou has been candid about her path toward personal freedom and triumph—as a single mother who descended into poverty, crime, prostitution and was once a brothel madam, Angelou seems to have walked in everyman’s (or rather, everywoman’s) shoes. But did you know she was also a calypso singer? It’s one of those chapters she seldom, if ever, refers to—but really, how bad could she have been in comparison to running a whorehouse? Not bad at all, in fact. Recorded in 1957 when Angelou was 27, Miss Calypso is a pop-influenced world music album with requisite congas, drums and bongo—and the poetess wrote five of the songs herself. Of course, there’s absolutely no chance that this legendary lady will sing any of the numbers at this lecture, but you can always listen to the CD on the way over and bop out to “Since Me Man Has Done Gone and Went”—and if you can get her autograph on the LP, you’ll probably be the first.
An Evening with Maya Angelou at UC Riverside, 900 University Ave., Highlander Union Bldg., Rm. 302, Riverside, (951) 827-1012; www.culturalevents.ucr.edu. Thurs, Oct. 22, 8PM.