Before Maya Angelou passed in May at the age of 86, she had been working on a project that blended her poetry with contemporary hip-hop music. On the album, Dr. Angelou recited her poems, while producers Shawn Rivera and RoccStarr provided the instrumentals.
Caged Bird Songs was released in November, and now, one of its 13 songs has a music video. “Harlem Hopscotch” is Dr. Angelou’s poem that was published in 1969.
Dr. Angelou’s grandson, Colin Johnson, reminisces that music was such a huge part of his grandmother’s life.
She loved everything, from pop to country and, of course, hip-hop. With her dedication to social activism and how she illuminated the struggles and injustices of the urban experience through prose, there’s a direct correlation to hip-hop today. She was really excited about her street-wise commentary being presented in this way.
The video features appearances by actress and singer Nia Peeples (“Fame,” “Pretty Little Liars”), dancer/choreographer Derek Hough, actor Alfonso Ribeiro, actress/singer Zendaya, dancer/choreographer Ian Eastwood, Quest Crew, and dancers from both “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew.”