AP NEWS

Respecting elders: Maya Angelou clip sparks courtesy debate

March 20, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — How we address our elders and why set off a social media debate recently after a Los Angeles scriptwriter tweeted an old TV clip of Maya Angelou.

In the snippet, said to date back around 30 years, the acclaimed poet and memoirist chides a teen girl for addressing her as Maya. The tweeter, 29-year-old Pierre Phipps, received days’ worth of comments, some citing Jim Crow history of whites humiliating blacks by refusing them courtesy titles. Angelou died in 2014 at age 86.

Phipps told The Associated Press he was surprised by young blacks who felt Angelou’s sharp rebuke of the girl was elitist.