Oprah Beautifully Honors Maya Angelou On What Would’ve Been Her 91st Birthday

The media mogul spoke about the “unbroken continuity” of her friendship with the legendary poet and writer.

Oprah Winfrey decided to honor her friend, Maya Angelou, with a poetic tribute.

The media mogul posted her favorite photo of herself and the late literary legend alongside a poem.

Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou attending the Celebration of Quincy Jones' 50th Year in Music in1995.
Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou attending the Celebration of Quincy Jones' 50th Year in Music in1995.


Although the poem is not by Angelou — who wrote famous poems such as “Still I Rise,” “On the Pulse of Morning” and “Phenomenal Woman” — Winfrey explained that the Henry Scott Holland poem she chose echoes the “unbroken continuity” of her friendship with the prolific writer and civil rights activist, who died in 2014 at age 86.

“Maya would have been 91 today!” Winfrey wrote on Instagram. “This is my favorite picture of us. Even in death I feel the ‘unbroken continuity’ of her mother-sister-friendship referenced in the Henry Scott Holland canon.”

Winfrey has often referred to Angelou as her mentor, mother/sister and friend.

“She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life,” Winfrey wrote shortly after Angelou’s death. “The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give’ is one of my best lessons from her.”

Angelou had an exceptional life and career. Her work, which focused on black women and championed their strength, earned Grammys, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an NAACP Image Award and other honors. She became the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco and the first black woman to write a bestselling nonfiction book with her memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. In her memoir, Angelou detailed her remarkable journey of overcoming the trauma of being raped at 7 years old and going mute for six years, during which she began to write.

“She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me,” Winfrey recalled after Angelou’s death. “I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the title of one of Maya Angelou’s poems.