CGG was so excited to be in the same room as Dr. Maya Angelou at the Gracie Awards, but we weren’t the only ones.
So many recipients cited the icon in their acceptance speeches that the evening may as well have been called The Mayas instead.
We loved it when Oprah BFF Gayle King recited our personal fave Maya quote: “When someone shows you how they are, believe them the first time.”
Though the big O herself was not in the audience, Maya got a standing O from everyone who was. Being honored as Outstanding Host, Information, for her show on Harpo Radio was a fitting award, she said, because the medium meant the world to her while growing up in an Arkansas village. Between the ages of seven and 14, Maya was “a volunteer mute.” (Selective or volunteer mutism is a rare social anxiety disorder in which a child who is fully capable of speaking is rendered literally speechless in certain situations.)
“I didn’t speak but I listened . . . to the radio. I thought of my whole body as an ear,” said Maya, whose trademark eloquence and delivery (Gayle likened Maya’s voice to “liquid”) enraptured the mostly-female crowd. But Maya was genuinely touched herself. “Here I am, all these years later, Maya Angelou . . . receving the Gracie Allen award. I want to tell you, you take me back and you take me forward.”
From volunteer mute to the voice of America, Maya Angelou is more than an inspiration; she’s a living legend.