A television tribute to famed poet Maya Angelou will be broadcast by Oprah Winfrey this Sunday, June 1. The iconic 86 year-old poet, actress and writer who passed away earlier this week was a close friend of Winfrey. She appeared many times on shows produced by Oprah over the years.
The planned tribute by Oprah will be five hours of back-to-back shows featuring Angelou, beginning at 5/4c. The shows will include episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” with Angelou, a two-part “Super Soul Sunday,” as well as “Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball,” and “Oprah’s Master Class,” featuring Angelou.
Angelou had a long career in writing, film, and the entertainment industry that included more than 30 best-selling books, three Grammy awards, and the Presidential Medal of Arts. She was also given 50 honorary degrees by universities during her life.
On her website, Oprah remembered Angelou as her “mentor, mother/sister and friend,” noting that the best lesson she learned from her was the importance of giving. The brief statement on Oprah Winfrey’s website also described the gift of important life lessons.
“But what stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken; it’s how she lived her life,” said Winfrey’s statement. “She moved through the world with unshakable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her, and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.”
The premiere of Oprah’s TV event on Sunday will be “Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball,” a celebration of 25 African-American women from the worlds of civil rights, entertainment, and arts. Angelou was among them.
Winfrey and Angelou had a friendship that spanned several decades, and began when Oprah was a young TV journalist who asked for a 5-minute interview. Though she said no at first, the interview eventually happened and lasted exactly five minutes. That was nearly four decades ago.
When Oprah, who is now 60, was in her 30s, the two women began a friendship that would last the rest of Angelou’s life.
“She was the biggest rock star in the world to me, and now I’m sitting in her house,” Oprah said of their encounters in those early days.
Oprah and Maya Angelou both had difficult early lives, and both women rose to fame through hard work, perseverance, talent, and the ability to excel at many different things.
After Angelou’s death, Oprah Winfrey said that one of the most compelling pieces of advice she ever got from her friend was a simple sentence: “When you know better, you do better.”