When the news of Dr. Maya Angelou’s passing hit the net this morning (May 28), we all lost it. From #RIPs with teary-eyed emojis to pepperings of “Phenomenal Woman,” “Still I Rise” and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” there wasn’t a single person who didn’t have Maya on their mind. My best friend texted me as soon as the news broke: “She was that type of person you wanted to live forever.” That she was. Unfortunately, Natalie Babbit’s “Tuck Everlasting” isn’t real and our earthbound angels must eventually ascend with our ancestors, but sadness is inevitable.
Everyone knew of Maya Angelou and her work. Young, old, white, black, purple, green or gold. She’s like the fairy godmother of writing for those of us attached to our pens like an addict to a pipe, myself included. So you can imagine my dismay when trolls disrupted the flow of condolences to finger wag at folks dedicating timeline space to youthful pictures of Dr. Angelou with James Baldwin and President Obama draping her neck with the Medal of Freedom. “Bandwagoners,” they called us. Why is it such a sin to mourn en masse?
Did y’all think about her influence when you were tweeting about fuckery? Maybe it doesn’t matter.
— Jasen Banks (@jasenbanks) May 28, 2014
Bout to be a poetry slam on here, mofos bout to get they google on to show how “profound” they are with Maya Angelou quotes *snap snap snap*
— IG: UJustBeenShaned (@UJustBeenSHANED) May 28, 2014
Sonnnnnn “@WatzStafrican: social media birthed band wagon mourners”
— Pat Draper (@Pat_Draper) May 28, 2014
Yes, at 10 a.m. her official follower count on Twitter was 390K and by the time this is published just a few hours later, it’s well over 415K. But so what? No one silences your myriad Monday night Twitter thoughts on Mimi’s shower rod escapades or Karlie Redd’s scripted courtship with Yung Joc. All sports season, there’s nothing but commentary on the Heat, Nets, Wizards, Clippers, Pistons and whoever else every millisecond and no one tells them to hush.
Now all of a sudden, people are wrong to publicly pay their respects to someone as influential and universally loved and lauded as Ms. Angelou (instead of just using her quotes for your vapid, subpar bathroom selfies)? Oh. Social media has really got it backwards.
Photo Credit: Getty Images