Famed poet Maya Angelou passed away in May, but before her death, she left gifts in her will to a half-dozen well-known New Yorkers.
According to the New York Daily News, papers filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court reveal that beneficiaries include screenwriter Khephra Burns, Valerie Simpson of Ashford and Simpson, and Tony-winning producer and dancer George Faison.
Angelou reportedly left unspecified “personal tangible property” to the six New Yorkers through a trust she set up before she died in May.
Angelou left all of her assets to the trust, which is headed up by her son, Guy Bailey Johnson.
It’s unclear what Angelou left her beneficiaries.
Burns and his wife, former Essence magazine editor Susan Taylor, told the New York Daily News that they spent many birthdays, Thanksgivings and other occasions with Angelou and her family at her Winston-Salem home in North Carolina where she died.
“We were part of her extended family,” Taylor said. “I miss her every day.”
Burn said they spent Thanksgiving with Angelou’s son, but he didn’t mention anything about her will.
“We just had Thanksgiving with the family, and Guy didn’t say anything about it,” Burns said.
Simpson declined to discuss the will or Angelou except to say in a choked whisper: “I miss her terribly.”
Other New Yorkers Angelou included in her will include Harlem’s Firehouse Theater founder Tedao Schnugg and Altavise Alston, who works with Simpson at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar on the Upper West Side.
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