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You don't know what is the perfect stream now at own TV and on the watch own app. Hey, podcast listeners, some of you may know that Oprah began having conversations about the deeper meaning of life in the world around us, even in the early days of the Oprah show.
When you look inward, then you can begin to create another kind of power because we know you love a super soul style discussion.
I went, oh, we opened up the vault of the Oprah Winfrey Show to handpick episodes that will enhance the Super Soul podcast library.
Every experience in our lives is to teach us to learn to love.
Please enjoy this past episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Super Cell Conversations. With the release of her book, A Song Long Up to Heaven, a song I like to do it, a song long after getting up to heaven.
If I said many times, Maya has been one of my greatest teachers, I am so blessed to have her in my life. She is the one I often look to for strength or wisdom or comfort and courage and also just to talk. You know, every time we are on the phone, we're not talking about courage and wisdom.
Sometimes we just laugh a lot anyway. The sheer power of her words and insights have moved and inspired me and I know millions of you. Maya says that a song flung up to heaven.
Is the sixth and final in the series of books about her remarkable life, which she began with, I know why the Caged Bird Sings.
The first book of Dr. Angelou's bestselling autobiographical series was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It made her a literary star, stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. It is her brutally honest account of her painful childhood and how she rose above being raped by her mother's boyfriend when she was just eight and the six years of self-imposed silence that followed.
Next, she wrote Gather Together in My Name about her struggle to make ends meet as a single mother at age 16, working as a cook, a dancer, a madam and even a prostitute. Next in singing and swinging and getting merry like Christmas.
Maya takes us on her journey into showbusiness, touring Europe as a singer and dancer, Hatami and millions read The Heart of a Woman, where Maya takes us through one of the most fascinating periods of her life from her debut at the Apollo Theater to her first meeting with Malcolm X to the joys and challenges of raising a teenage son.
Then, in All God's Children, the traveling shoes, she follows her heart to Africa in search of her roots, where she teaches at the University of Ghana and works as a journalist alongside Malcolm X, world renowned poet, author, actress, activist Dr. Maya Angelou has risen to greatness time and time again.
She is more phenomenal, phenomenally phenomenal woman than ever. Please welcome my dear friend, Dr. Maya Angelou.
Hello there, you want to talk about something other than currency? Yes, and wisdom and strength and hope, what is 74 feel like?
It's so wonderful. It is so good, I thought. The 50s were hot. Until I reach the 60 aha, the 60s out there, they're out there oh. That then when I reach the 70s. I now know the 70s, you want to reach the 70s, everybody stay alive, reach this subway at Jerry. Because because do you feel age, you know, this is a society that so puts age in aging and we're so concerned about it.
Is there a point where you say, oh, yes, I'm now an older woman?
No, there are some things that have not escaped me. Pain has not ecstasy has not a satisfaction, has not disappointment, has not I fear. Has not courage has not. So there are some things which have not escaped me. So that keeps you young. Mm hmm. If you start thinking that you know it and nobody can tell you anything, you've found the one way and you can call on Foulds. It's already over. It's already too late.
You have become old at eighteen at twenty five when you think you know everything.
But once you do know a lot.
Well around a lot. You know a lot. You've been around a long time and you've paid attention. Like you're so interesting though because people say to me when you call her up and you talk to her, does she talk like she talks when she's. And it is true, many times I call my and I'm like, just the other day she's on morning, I'm like sitting at my kitchen table and she just starts a conversation. Let me get a pencil.
Write this down and while she's talking and then she goes, Are you there, baby? Yes, I'm here. So tell me, what is the significance of a song flung up to heaven?
Hmm? Well, it comes from the third verse in the poem by Paul Line. Stand by. And I'd love to say please. That may be yes. The first verse says, I know what the caged bird feels. I me when the sun is bright on the upland slopes, when the wind blows soft through the springing grass and the river floats like a sheet of glass when the first bird sings and the first bud Opes. And the same perfume from its chalice steals I know what the caged bird feels the last very says and I know why the caged bird sings.
I mean, when its wings are bruised and its bosom soar, it beats its bars and would be free.
It's not a carol of joy or glee, but a prayer that it sends from its heart's deep core. But a song that it sends up to heaven it flings. That's why the caged bird sings.
Wow. Now I get it. We began with I know why the Caged Bird sings and we end with the last verse, last line, a song flung up to heaven. You are smart, deep, very deep.
Lift up your hearts, each new hour holds new chances for a new beginning. Do not be wedded forever to fear, yoked eternally to brutishness. The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change here on the pulse of this fine day. You may have the courage to look up and out and upon me. The rock, the river, the tree, your country. No less to Midas than the mint attempt. No less to you now than the mastodon.
Then here on the path of this new day, you may have the grace to look up and out and into your sister's eyes and into your brother's face, your country, and say simply, very simply, with hope. Good morning. That was Dr. Maya Angelou reciting from the poem On the Pulse of Morning what she wrote for President Clinton's inauguration in 1993. We're celebrating a song flung up to heaven.
In the book, Dr. Angelou opens up about a very painful time in her life. I know that this was a very painful book for you to write. I know that you went away to Florida and you were telling me you were having a really rough time writing this book for a number of reasons.
The obvious reasons the book had to deal with situations that didn't seem to have any hope in them. The murder of Malcolm X and the murder of Martin Luther King on my birthday and the uprising in Watts and so forth, I couldn't see how I could find hope writing about all these negatives. So I wrote that book.
I've written it for six years and it's the slim volume of all my books.
But I wanted to see how can I see it? And finally.
I was able to see something about who we really are. The human spirit. So amazing, everybody here, everybody has gone to bed one night or another with fear of pain or horror or disappointment or grief, and yet each one of us has awakened everything, made our ablutions and seen another human being and said, morning, how are you?
I mean, that that I thought, okey dokey then this is who we are. We do survive and we do better than that. We thought we thrive and we do better than that. We thrive with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.
Hello. How Maya's personal story became intertwined with the nation's history in the 60s. Oh.
Maya Angelou had been living in Ghana, West Africa, for four years when she made the decision in 1965 to leave her teenage son, guy with trusted friend and move back to America. Back in the states, racial tensions were coming to a head and my plan to work with her longtime friend and controversial leader, Malcolm X. he started the Organization of African-American Unity, whose goal was to launch a cultural revolution to end racism.
So instead of legislation, in my opinion, to take education. For many years, Meyer had been corresponding with Malcolm X through letters, but she had no idea that the letter beckoning her back to America would also be the last from her dear friend.
Dear man, I was most pleased to learn that you might be sitting in this direction this year. You are a beautiful writer and a beautiful woman, you know that I will always do my utmost to be helpful to you in any way possible. So don't hesitate. Your brother Malcolm.
But my I never got the chance to work alongside Malcolm X on February 21st, 1965, two days after my arrived back in the States, he was assassinated in front of his family while delivering a speech right after his hand up.
I remember this. I turned around quickly and the next thing I saw was Malcolm falling back. And at that point, Maya was devastated. She was also outraged at what she felt was America's indifference about his murder. Three years later, in 1968, Meyer was reunited with another friend, civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Suddenly I saw this man who really believed in non-violent change and the power of pain for redemption.
After a speech at Carnegie Hall, he asked her to work with him on the Poor People's March plan for later that year, I just agreed to come back to work for him. He said, come back with me. I don't know if people accuse me of being nonviolent. I would tell them Maya Angelou is back with. Maya planned to join him on the road one month later, but she would never get the chance. On April 4th, 1968, Maya's fortieth birthday, Dr.
King was assassinated, dealt yet another devastating blow. Maya withdrew from the world, unable to deal with another tragedy. I'm sorry to say he was killed on my birthday.
I'm reminded all the time by his life, by his courage, his love, that I can be better than I can be bigger and can be kinder.
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Bank of Ireland dotcom forward slash student terms conditions apply. Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Don't go anywhere. More to come after this short break from Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Worldwide Phenomenon. The secret comes a long awaited major new book called The Greatest Secret. The secrets showed us the path to create anything we want to be, do or have. The greatest secret reveals the most profound discovery a human being can make and shows you the way out of negativity and suffering to a life of permanent happiness and bliss.
This great secret has been hiding in plain sight for thousands of years, but the majority of humanity has missed it, drawing on the teachings of the very few who have unlocked the truth about the world. The greatest secret is filled with accessible practices and profound revelations that take you on an incomparable journey. What truths can possibly be so life changing? Discover the greatest secret wherever books, ebooks and audiobooks are sold. You say you learned a lot about courage from Malcolm X and Dr.
King did the courage to be the human being I can be and to encourage other people to be that human being she can be. To agree to be. Try to be no one's enemy, no one's foe to try to be No one, to refuse to be anyone's victim. To be a friend to human beings. That's what I want to be oh. When you have lived this well and known this week, I think you were born at the right time, it must have been I have these conversations with you where all of the legends like Billie Holiday came to your house with her little doll, did she not, with all Dolittle with her little Billie Holiday.
And there's just up in Harlem, everybody, Dr. King and Langston Langston Hughes were all hanging out.
You live in a time and trying to be a person of the time, that is to say, not sit behind the door, behind the windows, sort of wishing one could be there. I mean, there's nothing for it but to go and join it and see if you can be of use. Anybody who can be used is useless. You must not be misused, overused, abused, but you must be of use to somebody besides yourself.
Shortly after September 11th, when we asked the question, what really matters now, Maya was one of the people we turn to for inside and answers. Awards still offer hope and a way to rise above evil and injustice.
Like every American and like most people in the world, I'm speechless. And that doesn't mean I don't have something to say. We have to seek after justice. We must do so. We have to at the same time, be careful not to lust after revenge.
If we do, many things happen when we are no better than the adversary, we may be even worse.
We should always be at war with injustice, always in our families and ourselves and our neighborhoods and our cities and states, we should always be on the other side from injustice.
I believe, however, that it all starts with me.
And I believe that the change which must take place in the Middle East and in Ireland and as we have seen in South Africa, all those changes begin with me.
I think that we have to each of us learn everything we possibly can stop being lazy about thinking, we must think what really matters now is love.
I don't mean mush. I don't mean sentimentality. I mean that condition in the human spirit is so profound that it allows us to rise.
Strier Love, courage, love. Kindness, love, that is really what matters. There has always been evil and there will always be evil, but there has always been good and there is good man.
In the 60s, Maya lived and worked in the Islamic world as the wife of a South African freedom fighter. She was the editor of the Arab Observer and says today she's deeply concerned about America's indifference to that part of the world.
I'm very concerned that I remain proud of my country when it's doing the right thing and active in my country. And I don't think we're doing the right thing. That is to say, we can't say, oh, I feel for these people, but not for those people.
You can't say that it's wrong if you have sympathy and empathy and kindness to a human being, have it to human beings, all of that.
It is very important for the human being to not allow anyone to make a mean little tunnel for her to live her life in, this is your life.
Yeah, this is all you know. And in fact, as far as we can be absolutely certain, it's given to us to live. But once. One time and you're going to live over my people never like those people. Well, those people, they never came to our house. Well, all of them keep over there and I keep over here with us.
That's a mean little tiny little line. And then you will die in the world when you will not have the world one bit.
It seems so clear, clearer as you get older you can care about, you know, a little bit, but not much less.
And that's not why I mean, don't get older just to get wiser. If you get older, you will be wiser. I believe that if you dare. If you dare, I may get older because it's fun.
It's fun. Yes, it's great fun. Not today, ever. So. Yes, well, you know, the body is going, but I mean, you know that.
So what? You know, life lives forever, you know.
So my knees are gone.
Skidelsky and I find that my hair is change and that and the breasts are very interesting.
Well, because they are an incredible race, the incredible race to see which one will touch my waist.
And it's fun, living is fun. Oh, that's fun. Yes, that's fun to run for it. Yes. But, you know, if you if you put it in your mind, that is fine. Yeah, it's fine. It's fine. But if you think, oh, you know, it's fine because you're still here.
Here I'm still here. I'm still here. And somebody still calling me darling. Ain't that.
Hello. Hello. I want to talk about Oscar night, I haven't talked to you about that, if it's too.
I can tell you this, that it was such a historic night with Halle Berry as the first African-American woman to win best actress, Denzel Washington was the first man in 40 years to win best actor and Sidney Poitier getting the Lifetime Achievement Award.
What do you think was significant about that night for all Americans?
You know, who won? We all that's it, we all did. That's. That's it. We all do. I tell you, I love that Halle Berry and I adore Denzel Washington. Yes. And I support and I'm a good friend, a friend of Sidney Poitier, the United States. One. Yeah, every citizen in this country.
One that night. I have heard I have heard some people that had the nerve to say, why did Halley turn it into such a racial her speech?
And if you haven't heard that now, I've heard what have heard, don't say things like, yeah, I've heard people say, why did she turn that into such a racial speech? And I think it's because people do not understand. It was seventy four years. Seventy four years. We hadn't even had the opportunity to stand there 74 years. Yeah, she spoke. Exactly. She spoke out of her people's mouths. Yeah. And that is not just African-American people's man.
Yeah. She isn't just African because she is.
But didn't you love it when she called the roll, when she thanked Dorothy Dandridge and when she was born in USA and then to address her peers, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox, who weren't even nominated.
But you say they stand beside me? I think there has not been a better speech.
There has not been a Mr. Oscar. And the fact that she stood up and said, this is bigger than me, this is bigger than me. Oh, my goodness, I will tell you this.
It was so great that I sent him an email saying it was exciting for me because I don't ever remember being that happy or anybody. I was I just took me out of my self to be that happy for another person. There are some which is a different kind of feeling to feel that good for somebody else.
Well, yes, that's true.
But you see, I looked at Denzel Washington. And realize how many times he should have been up there. You know, I really thought he was going to get it for hurricane. I really thought that he should have had it, my lord, I gave it to him.
I voted for him, yes, the. Great gift of love is fair play. You really want to do fairly and you may even want to do generously, but certainly fair play love allows you to do that.
Love allows you do that. Now, you're the only person I know. And because of you, I've learned from you to do it.
I've said this before that you will not allow a racial slur or a sexual slur, any kind of joke. You won't even allow it in your house. I mean, I have seen you put people out in the song Flung Up to Heaven. She tells a story with a woman she actually put out of the house. And when the producer was saying to me, I said, honey, it is true.
I have seen her put people out of the house you like at a gathering. She hears a joke. I don't know. She got ears like I don't know what to do. On one side of the room, somebody is telling a joke, making a racial slur, and you will go and ask them to leave your house. Yet you seem to be the least bit embarrassed. Oh, no, not apologetic or apologetic. No, no. You say you must leave now.
You must and take all your stuff with you.
You see no kind of racial slur. None I don't mean just against black people, you know, allowing anybody to say anybody anything bad about any race or sex.
You see, there is this and I think. That the words are things. I was in a I had a CB said and travels cross-country with it, and when I got into Dolly's house, my sister Valleywag presidents have. I told her, I said, Sister, this room is filled with images and words. She said, what are you talking about? I said, if I had a battery operated television, I could turn it on right now and see what's happening downtown and in New York City and in New Orleans.
Now, that's not plugged in to anything. What does that tell me, that the things are in the room, the pictures, the images here in the room between this, which tells me that thoughts then are things and words are things.
And I believe they go into your furniture, into your upholstery. They go into your clothes. They go into your carpet. They're sitting in your part when you start to make a pot of rice.
So somebody is going to use a racial pejorative of vulgarity in my house. And I won't say anything. I want him or all of them to get their stuff and leave. Take it out of my house.
Because of that, as you know, I have a healing home, right? People come to my home and are healed. I don't heal, but the atmosphere, you know, you worked in places that are beautiful, but just sit on the edge of the chair. You can't get comfortable in my home. And it's a beautiful home. I love it when I look around the sofa and see strangers if they choose the. That's very good. I feel very nurtured at your home, it's not just in your Becka's don't hurt either.
And a smothered chicken. And Maya's book, she also reveals some of her feelings about her own son and being a mother or joyes or regrets and feelings of guilt. You write about the time that you left Guy behind in Africa. Yeah. Was it hard to do?
Oh, very hard to do. In a way, I had to do it for himself and for myself so I wouldn't kill him. Hmm.
He was at 18. He was six, four and a half.
And he knew everything. And I would say, I don't like you to do this. And he I'm six foot. He pat me on my head and say, I understand, little mother.
Oh, this is my life, really.
So I thought, well, I'm going to give you your life and Africa.
Mm hmm. And I paid his tuition after graduation and came home, you say in the book about leaving Guy in Africa, didn't I care that I'd been a bad mother, abandoning my son, leaving him with a meager bank account and up to his own silly teenage devices? He'd go through that money like Grant went through Richmond. And then what? I thought I should be crying. Not one tear fell. A kind of stoicism had to have been in my inheritance.
Yes, yes. I did him very well. It was a good thing I had done now. And when he was ready, he came home. Mm hmm. And sorry to say he came home and was sitting in a car that was hit and his neck was injured again. So I went up to San Francisco from Los Angeles and like every parent's. I felt guilty seeing him in the hospital, every parent feels, every mother especially feels when she has a baby, if the baby comes out with any handicap.
She thinks my body didn't do right. You know, why didn't I make them stronger when I was making him or her? So I stood there watching Guy thinking, my God, how awful. I feel terrible. He had been 500 miles away in another town and he was hurt. But I felt, you know, hmm, it's this mothering well, guy is all grown up now and Maya doesn't know this, but we sat down with my son, Guy Johnson, and he told us about the car accident that nearly killed him and how he believes his mother helped bring him back from the brink of death.
I pulled off the road to lead a road map, a truck going the opposite direction, drifted across the line and hit me and it broke my leg and dislocated my shoulder. Put me in a coma for about five days. The doctor said, Dr. Angelo, your son may not live and it's pretty clear he won't walk again. And she looked at them and she said, What do you know? I've gone to a higher authority. And it was obvious that she had because I walked out of the hospital two months after that, might you have helped other people learn what it is to be human?
People ask me quite often what it's like to be Maya Angelou's son. Did you grow up in her shadow? And. No, I didn't. I grew up in our light. Sometimes I wasn't worthy of it, but it has always been an experience that expanded me. She thinks that the divine hand is in all things. She has faith. That's like a rock. You can stand on it. She says one person speaking the word of God is the majority.
She speaks to our humanity and reminds us that we are both brother and sister to the rest of the human race. Keep on speaking. Keep on talking. We need to learn the lessons. We need to hear it again and again. And I hope that this day marks just the beginning of many more. Beautiful and wonderful poems, books, movies. Dances, celebrations and love, I love you. Thank you. For five decades, Maya's words have moved us in more ways than we even know, as I was saying many times, I'm talking to her on the phone run to get a pencil, write it down.
Well, she partnered with Hallmark to produce cards and gifts with some of her most inspiring words. And they are already, honey, flying off the shelves. There's so many wonderful items, people that asked me, what do you really write them? I said I was sitting at the table watching her, right? Absolutely. Is it hard for you to write these?
It's hard. It's been a wonderful challenge because what I could take two pages writing about, I have to say, in two sentences. And so it's delicious. And it helps me to to get my language, my English and have control of it. And this was wonderful.
Well, I think it's wonderful because for years I've been saving my own my isms that I now see on some of these cards. I'll one of my favorite is Family Brings You Home. Just that loving family brings you home. And then there's nothing makes you feel more at home than being with you family. I love this one. You had a difficult decision to make and you made it. I applaud your courage and I'm strengthened by it.
Yes, there are cards for every single occasion you can imagine in life.
Yes, yes, yes. I saw a woman in Florida. She stabbed me in Florida and in the bookstore, a white woman about my age, you know.
Yeah. She said, you know, you look just like that.
Writer Maya Angelou. I see tears came to her and she said, I received a Christmas gift from my daughter. I said, Huh? She said, we've been estranged. But she sent me a card which simply said, Mother, love liberates. Wow. And she just the tears, she said, and I keep that kind in my bedroom. When I go into the kitchen, I put it there, I take it to the living room. My daughter and I will come back together.
And what's wonderful about the cards, if for all people, all races, all places, all dimensions, because they're called life mosaics, it's just poetry that it's come from a deeper place where you say this is poet poesy. So to me, yes, I mean, it's poetic musings, poetics thinking, meditations.
It is what it feels like to be a human being. But when I speak to you how I wrote that. That's why I feel it until you can go to the Hallmark section of any store and you find the Maya Angelou music legend has it on the back, but I love this as a birthday card. Tiaras, Crowns and Coronets were made to show you off. You are duchess of everything today. You have every reason to strut, do just that.
Dr. Maya Angelou's book is called Runout David. Thank you, my. I'm Oprah Winfrey, and you've been listening to Super Soul Conversations, the podcast you can follow Super Soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet, go to Apple podcast and subscribe rate and review this podcast. Join me next week for another super soul conversation. Thank you for listening. If you're stuck at home feeling isolated or worried about the state of things, we here have better help her encouraging you to take a mental health break when you can if you need a little help getting started on one of your own.
Here are a few ideas. Guys, we've been home for a while now. Yeah, it's pretty common to feel a little isolated and to feel worried about the state of things right now. And we hear on the podcast and the people at Better Help really want to encourage everyone to take a mental health break when they can.
I've been doing a little project, nothing too big, something that I can accomplish. And one day it sort of feeds my soul to start something and be able to see it through and finish it. And it can be the smallest thing, like, you know, that drawer in your kitchen, that is the catchall drawer that just everything just falls in that drawer. I organised that drawer, you guys. It made my heart feel good. It made.
Yeah, I don't know how to explain it, but it was the small thing that I did and it got me sort of out of my head and in my body a little bit.
Well, we also want to point out the folks at Better Help, Better Help offers online professional counselors who can help. If you are wanting to reach out and speak with someone, you can talk to a licensed online therapist and find some relief, some communication, some connection. You can get affordable professional help when you want it, wherever you are, listeners get 10 percent off their first month with the discount code stitcher, get help today, go to better help dotcom slash stitcher.