Weigh In: Was Maya Angelou Wrong In This Clip?

Mockarena, Co-Founder

Maya Angelous is trending on Twitter because there’s a years-old clip of her instructing a young girl to call her Ms. Angelou, and not Maya.


It should be noted that a short time later, Angelou apologized for being curt:

I’m fascinated to hear from you on a couple of things  – first, if you don’t mind sharing your age, and the second, your initial reaction to the first clip. I’m betting that folks older than me will not see much wrong with the way that Angelou chastised the girl. And I’m also betting that lots of folks in their 20s and 30s will think Angelou was inappropriate and downright rude.

My reaction went sorta like this:


“Angelou’s not wrong though. It’s that whole Respect Your Elders thing.”

“But OMG did she have to be so snippy about it?”

“Why am I so uncomfortable?”

I was glad she apologized, actually. Not that there was anything wrong in the lesson she was teaching that young girl. But HOLY MOTHER OF PUBLIC HUMILIATION. Like – it’d have been enough for Angelou to simply say, “Please refer to me as Ms. Angelou” and to have left it at that. And I get that maybe she was trying to explain the “why” but the WAY she explained it made it sound lots meaner.

But as I’m writing this, I’m also second guessing my own rake-shaking credentials. Because I also understand that people have gotten way too soft, and that Angelou’s tone might have been just what that young girl needed to make the lesson stick.

So yes, I’m all over the place. I think Angelou’s point was right on, but I’m also super glad to know she softened it up with an apology. What say you?

UPDATE: I had to include this hilarious response from Twitter. This is so perfect!