It’s hard to fathom that in a world with five Spider-Man movies, at least five Star Wars documentaries, and a Jem and the Holograms movie that there has never been a movie or documentary about Dr. Maya Angelou— until now.
Two of Dr. Angelou’s closest friends, Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, are in the process of making The Maya Angelou Documentary, the world’s first documentary on this phenomenal woman.
The two filmmakers were part of Dr. Angelou’s inner circle and have constituted this vast documentary over the last several years. The last interview they conducted with Dr. Angelou was in January 2014, five months before her death. Up until now, they have used their own money to finance the film but they are now turning to Kickstarter to meet their $150,000 goal before December 1. Thus far, they have raised almost $37,000.
The money for The Maya Angelou Documentary will go toward editing costs and licensing fees for images and footage. Hercules and Whack have already interviewed Common, Oprah, President Bill Clinton and many others for the film.
On their Kickstarter page, Hercules and Whack state, “Dr. Angelou has become a global symbol of peace, humility, and freedom–– but parts of her story are not well known. The Maya Angelou Documentary will reflect on how the events of history, culture, and the arts shaped Dr. Angelou’s life and how she, in turn, helped shape our own worldview through her autobiographical literature and activism. We hope to shed light on the untold aspects of her life and to educate audiences about her story.”
Dr. Angelou’s cultural status makes it easy to believe that everything known about her life has already been dissected and told. The danger with this type of thinking is that she only becomes a name in history— she becomes someone who has no impact on what’s happening in the present. It’s just as important for historical figures to be taken off their pedestal and seen as relatable, living beings. Just from the trailer alone, it’s clear the filmmakers take Dr. Angelou off her pedestal and show her in a vulnerable and personal light.
This documentary represents the continuation of Dr. Angelou’s message and legacy of love, encouragement, and empowerment of Black voices through an intimate format. However, nothing will work unless we do, and now there’s a chance to help create history by donating toward telling her story.