My tribute…


She was simply amazing.  Her words served as a balm to many of our souls, and she often quenched the dry places in my spirit with wisdom, courage and esteem that can only be gifted by God.  I do my best to idolize no man, yet the moment I heard of Dr. Angelou’s passing, I began pondering what word could capture the contribution she made to my life.


I initially gravitated towards her when I found out that we shared something in common.  There were many times I felt my talent would be eclipsed by my uncommon 6’0″ frame, but the pride she had for her own height and beauty caused me to extend to my full height without apology.

I always marveled at her simplicity.  She didn’t use ornate words to appear more impressive, nor was there ever a reason for her to yell to be heard.  While in college, I remember attending a speech she gave, and her presence occupied the entire arena, instantly causing a shift in the atmosphere.  I will be honest, I don’t remember the specifics of her conversation, but I remember that she danced off the stage when she was finished.  Keeping rhythm to her own internal groove, her vibrancy was transformational.

Dr. Angelou cast many pearls of wisdom during her life, but I wanted to share five of my favorite proverbs from her.  In some form, they have become recipes for improving my life.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“We need much less than we think we need.”

“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

I am truly grateful to you and for you, Dr. Angelou.  Your words will never live in vain.

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Tanya Tatum is the outstpoken host of “The Tatum Talks,” a live Blog Talk Radio show focusing on African-American interests.  Feel free to join her for this week’s episode:  Going to Jail Gave Me Freedom, this Wednesday, June 4th, from 9-10p EST at  You can also join her for a daily discussion at and follow her @TheTatumTalks on Twitter.