One of the most influential voices of our time whose poetry and words have inspired and empowered so many is Maya Angelou. It is no exaggeration to describe her as being a phenomenal woman. She was an important figure in the Civil Rights Movement while her poetry speaks of quiet resolve and determination that every individual, regardless of race, gender or lot in life, be acknowledged as fundamental to the validity of our nation's promise of freedom for all.
A favorite blog of mine, Brain Pickings, devotes an article to Ms. Angelou's poem, Phenomenal Woman, which was published in her famous book, Still I Rise. Listen to Ms. Angelou give voice to her poem as you read her words and know that she is, indeed, the epitome of a phenomenal woman.
’Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Creativity is the spice of life. As a mother of an artist and a judge I understand the need to allow kids to think differently even when it seems silly. Providing opportunities for kids to use their talents (gifts) whether it’s math and science-related or drawing or music is important. “Practice makes perfect” is true.
My “gift” is computer support. I know. Boring. But that is probably why the creative process is so intriguing to me. The illustration above was drawn by my son. Early on we knew he had a talent for drawing. We made every effort to provide the tools that he needed and opportunities to hone his skills. He is now a video animator and makes video games and movies.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. – Albert Einstein
Apple’s commentary on people who draw outside the lines and think outside the box:
Here’s to the Crazy Ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you can’t do, is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or, sit in silence and hear a song that hasn’t been written?
Or, gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world,
are the ones who do.
Here are a few quotes from folks who couldn’t think outside of a box (or paper bag).
“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” –Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” –Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” –The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
“But what … is it good for?” –Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” –Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977 — bought out by Compaq which was bought out by Hewlett Packard.
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” –Western Union internal memo, 1876.
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” –David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” –A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” –H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
“Sometimes I sound like gravel and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream,” Nina Simone remarks of her signature husky tenor at one point in Liz Garbus’ documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” And it is that voice, spoken and sung, which guides us through Garbus’ meticulously researched, tough-love portrait of the brilliant but troubled folk/jazz/soul diva, drawing on a vast archive of audio interviews, diary pages and performance footage that allows Simone (who died of cancer in 2003) to answer the title question in her own unmistakable words. A most satisfying rendering of a complex cultural legacy, “Miss Simone” will reach audiences via Netflix following its opening-night Sundance premiere.
Netflix will debut the movie July 26. To me, this documentary is a “must see” movie. Nina Simone was a gifted musician and singer. However, her importance as a voice of the Civil Rights movement should be acknowledged as well. According to Biography.com:
“By the mid-1960s, Simone became known as the voice of the civil rights movement. She wrote “Mississippi Goddam” in response to the 1963 assassination of Medgar Evers and the Birmingham church bombing that killed four young African-American girls. After the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, Simone penned “Why (The King of Love Is Dead).” She also wrote “Young, Gifted and Black,” borrowing the title of a play by Hansberry, which became a popular anthem at the time.”
I was too young to appreciate or understand the Civil Rights movement during the 60s. I’ve only in recent years realized the importance of those who risked their lives to force change in American values. Although the documentary focuses on her music, there are so many facets of Miss Simome’s life which encompass who she was in totality.