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If Maya Angelou were 20 and living today


Maya Angelou Q&A AOne of the benefits of staying after a film shown at the Fort Myers Film Festival is the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the filmmakers. Following the screening of Maya Angelou and Still I Rise last night, for example, one audience member wanted Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack to speculate about what Maya Angelou might be doing were she 20 years old and living Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules Atoday.

Hercules and Whack have been asked lots of questions by media, film festival organizers and audience members, but this one took them both aback. “That’s a question we haven’t scripted for,” Hercules chuckled, as he gathered his thoughts. But he wasn’t shy about providing an answer.

“If Dr. Angelou were 20 years old and living today, I think she’d be very active with the Black Lives Matter movement,” he replied.

Rita Coburn Whack F“Absolutely,” Ms. Whack concurred. “She was a protester.”

That remark elicited enthusiastic applause from the FMff audience.

“She’d be out there,” Hercules amplified. “That’s one of the things I really admire about her. A lot of people are talk, but we need people out there doing the work every day. In some ways, I liken her to a community organizer. I did a film years ago about Saul Lewinsky, the father of community organizing, so I’m sort of obsessed with it, and I see in Maya Angelou a bit of a community organizer. When she worked for Dr. King, she was doing that for him – organizing, Bob Hercules Braising money, and doing more organizing. Organizing work is not exciting, and nobody sees you doing it, but I think that’s what she’d be doing were she 20 and living today.

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