Old Video Of Maya Angelou Correcting Young Girl Resurfaces, Sparks Debate Online
Maya Angelou has become a trending topic on Twitter because of the video.
An interview from around 1990 of Maya Angelou correcting a young girl on how she pronounces her name has sparked a debate about respect on social media.
The clip, which went viral after it was posted Thursday by Twitter user Piérre Phipps (Mr. Girth of a Nation), shows Angelou being asked about interracial relationships by a young girl in a audience, with the girl referring to the late poet by her first name.
"Thank you," Angelou said in the clip before continuing, "And first, I'm Ms. Angelou. I'm not Maya. I'm 62 years old. I've lived so long and tried so hard that a young woman like you, or any other, has no license to come up to me and call me by my first name."
\u201cI can\u2019t wait to turn 30 so I can read one of yall for calling me by my first name like this:\u201d— The Prince (@The Prince) 1552597616
"That's first. Also, because at the same time, I'm your mother, I'm your auntie, I'm your teacher, I'm your professor. See?" she added.
Phipps' tweet has received close to 1,000 responses, with some feeling that Angelou's response was harsh.
"She's not wrong but she's more than a little pointed with it for such a young girl. If she's past 20 or so, I'd get it, but that's a child. I'd feel like I really insulted her, which wasn't the case," one user wrote.
\u201c@PrinceCharmingP @inestonight She\u2019s not wrong but she\u2019s more than a little pointed with it for such a young girl. If she\u2019s past 20 or so, I\u2019d get it, but that\u2019s a child. I\u2019d feel like I really insulted her, which wasn\u2019t the case.\u201d— The Prince (@The Prince) 1552597616
"I find it disrespectful for her to do all that. She could've said 'Call me Miss Angelou. 'I would’ve end up cussing her and all her ancestors out!" another wrote.
Others, however, sided with Angelou.
"To educate and give the honest truth can be interpreted as disrespect. A witty response although educational is flirting with disrespect and most of the time disrespectful. Ms. Angelou response was not witty nor sarcastic. This was a learning experience for the young lady," one user wrote.
\u201c@PrinceCharmingP To educate and give the honest truth can be interpreted as disrespect. A witty response although educational is flirting with disrespect and most of the time disrespectful. Ms. Angelou response was not witty nor sarcastic. This was a learning experience for the young lady.\u201d— The Prince (@The Prince) 1552597616
Even Phipps himself spoke of how surprised he was that people called Angelou's response to the girl disrespectful or rude.
"People fight hard to be respected and to have people address them in ways they want to be addressed. Whether it's a PHD graduate that wants to be addressed as doctor, a transgender woman that wants to be addressed as 'she/her' or a 62-year-old poet that wants to be addressed as 'Ms. Angelou,'" Prince noted. "We must respect people’s wishes!" he said to Newsweek.
Since then, another part of the interview has surfaced where Angelou apologized to the girl for her response.
"I apologize for being so short," Angelou said to the girl. "I'm not usually so short, it just caught me off guard..."