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Maya Angelou: Lyrical genius and evocateur was also a movie actress

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TMZ is reporting today that Maya Angelou is dead. The celebrated activist and poet passed away in her North Carolina home at 8:00 a.m., sources day. Her family members were with her at the time of her death. Maya Angelou was 86. Days earlier it was announced Angelou was battling an illness, according to CNN. Worried fans took to social media to express their concern.

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A follow-up message on Maya Angelou's Facebook page explaining to fans that her plans to travel to Houston had been cancelled was reassuring because it meant that Angelou was still with us. Today's announcement of her death confirms that the nation has lost a great leader, a great human thinker---a nurturer of souls. Known for her beautiful poems such as "The Mothering Blackness" and "Woman Work," the African American poet and artist has proven herself to be a lyrical genius and evocateur.

But, she wasn't just a poet. Maya Angelou was also an actress, appearing in her first movie in 1959 as a dancer in "Porgy and Bess." In 1977, Maya Angelou appeared in "Roots," the controversial African American movie that chronicled the lives of Black slaves in America. She appeared in two films in 1993: "There Are No Children Here" and "Poetic Justice," followed by "How To Make An American Quilt in 1995 and "The Runaway" in 2000. Angelou appeared in her last and final film Tyler Perry's "Madea's Family Reunion" in 2006.

As people around the globe mourn her death, they can be continuously comforted by the great legacy she leaves behind---her poetry, her great civil rights work and her love. On the eve of her own mother's death, Maya Angelou understood love this way: "love doesn't bind, it liberates." Love embraces you, where ever you are. So in bidding one of our greatest thought leaders goodbye, we say---taking inspiration from Maya Angelou's own words: "we wish that we could see you one last time, but we know that's not possible now. So we love you.... Go."

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