The first thing I ever read by Dr. Angelou was ” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” when I was in 7th grade. She created a spark in me and I created a curiosity in me for writing. Without Dr. Angelou, I would have never discovered James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, the Harlem Renaissance, Nikki Giovanni, or Sonia Sanchez. These were my influences when I was younger. As an adult, I began to read some of her essays which I didn’t connect with, two of which I gave away to my brother, Zaye. He thought I was out of my mind. He kept asking me if I was sure. When I’ve heard her speak, my gut trembled. I knew that there was something about her words that I connected with when spoken. The wisdom she shared is priceless. She is not just a poet but a playwright. She is DR. without earning a degree…that’s respect. Her loss will affect many but I am glad her words live on. She left a mark on this world that cannot be measured. I feel like I lost a grandmother.