My Few Minutes With Maya Angelou - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

My Few Minutes With Maya Angelou

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Poet and author Maya Angelou influenced people worldwide from presidents to paupers and just about everyone in between. Her life and seemingly endless wisdom have been immortalized in a prolific and highly impressive body of work, punctuated by a plethora of awards and accolades. Testaments to the bigger than life persona she projected, almost without even trying.

I could go on and on about her famous writings, including the enduring “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” or “And Still I Rise,” the powerful poem she penned and delivered at President Clinton’s 1993 inaugural as the nation’s Poet Laureate. But I’ll leave that for others to do with more justice than I probably ever could. Instead, I would rather tell you about the first time I met Maya Angelou and the impact she had on my life.

It was 20 years ago. Maya Angelou had been booked to appear on “Good Day LA,” which I was co-hosting that day. You should know that I’m generally not taken with celebrities whatsoever. As far as I’m concerned, they’re people like the rest of us, just a lot more famous or infamous and usually, a lot wealthier. I have never been the least bit anxious about meeting or interviewing them. But on this day in 1994, I was not only nervous, I was petrified. To say I was awestruck by this woman long before I ever met her would be an astronomical understatement.

I wanted to introduce myself to her before the show as I often did with other guests. But instead of waltzing confidently up to her with an outstretched hand, I found myself sheepishly creeping up to the room where she was having her makeup done and peering very apprehensively through the threshold like a ten year old getting his first glimpse of his favorite superhero. Maya Angelou must have sensed my presence and in her inimitably resonant but grandmotherly voice, bid me to come in and introduce myself. I had barely stumbled through my name and what I did at the station before she began asking me about my life. She wanted to know where I was born and raised and where I had gone to school. She caringly inquired about my parents, whether I was married, had children, what my goals and aspirations were. In short, she not only made me feel as if I were a part of her family but an important part of herself.

Honestly, I don’t remember much about my interview of her but her interview of me that day will be forever seared in my memory. It’s one thing for someone to achieve greatness in life. It’s quite another for that person to inspire others to attain their own measure of greatness while humbly and sincerely inviting them to be part of her own. That was the Maya Angelou I met that day; a woman tall in stature, with a mind, heart and spirit as vast and deep as the voice with which she so eloquently and soulfully spoke and wrote.

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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