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Hear how Maya Angelou met Tupac Shakur for the first time


Without realizing it, Maya Angelou met Tupac Shakur, and the two ended up sharing a powerful moment together.

Funding for Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise is provided by IDP Foundation, Ford Foundation/Just Films, National Endowment for the Arts, National Black Programming Consortium, Anne Ulnick, Michael Metelits, and Loida and Leslie Lewis.


Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation and public television viewers.


And I said, 'Excuse me. May I speak?' The young man who was cursing said, 'I wouldn't give a f-' and I said, 'I understand that. I understand that, but may I speak?' 'If these mother-' 'I've heard that before, too, but may I speak to you?'

'You see, if they - if they think, they've really got it wrong.' So I said, 'I see that - but when was the last time anyone told you how important you are?'

You're the best we have. We need you desperately.

Do you know that our people stood on auction blocks for you? Did you know we got up before sunrise and slept at the sunset so that you could stay alive? You could be here this day? I wrapped my arm around his waist and I just walked him down a little sort of decline and I talked to him about our people. And she put her arms around him and she just walked him away.

And they had their own private moment, you know, I don't know everything that was said, but it was phenomenal.

Suddenly he started to cry, and and I turned his back to to the crowd and just talked to him. I didn't have a Kleenex or handkerchief, I just took my hand and wiped his face, and when he had control of himself again, I continued to my trailer. Within two minutes Miss Janet Jackson came to my trailer.

She said, 'Dr. Angelou, I don't believe you actually spoke to Tupac Shakur!'

So I said, 'Darling, I don't know Six Pack Shakur.'

I didn't know - I had no idea who he was. She said, 'Well he's a very famous rap star.'


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