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Maya Angelou: 'Common wants to stop using the N-word'

STILL FRIENDS: Maya Angelou with rapper, Common

MAYA ANGELOU says she has not cut her ties with Common, despite the rapper using the N-word on one of the songs, on which the poet was featured.

The 83-year-old, famed for poems including Still I Rise, reads one of her works on the track The Believer, which features on Common’s new album, The Dreamer/ The Believer. It was later reported that Angelou was disappointed with the Chicago-born lyricist for using the N-word in his verses on the same track.

However, the famed author and Civil Rights activist, who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, says she hasn’t written off the rapper, as she believes he may change his ways, ditching his use not only of the N-word, but also the word ‘b*tch’.

“When I did the piece with Common, I had no idea he was going to use [the N-word],” Angelou told The Voice. “[But] I have not cut my relations with Common because I know that as long as you live, you have a chance to change. And he might decide next week that he will not use those words. He’s working towards that.

“So I will not sever my relationship with him. He’s a brilliant young man and, as far as I know, a good human being. So, I’ll wait and see.”

Speaking to The Voice ahead of the UK TV premiere of the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Honors, Angelou expressed her delight at being honoured with the award for literary/arts – and receiving the award from US First Lady, Michelle Obama.

INSPIRATIONAL: The legendary US poet is presented with award for literary/arts at the BET Honors

“It was so exciting; she’s such a grand dame,” Angelou said of Mrs Obama. “It was a great honour for me that she presented me with the award.

“She came out with no notes, and spoke about my work and how it has had an impact on her and her husband over the years. I grinned right around my head. When one smiles, it stops at this ears – this one went all the way around my head!”

The BET Honors airs tomorrow (Feb 18) on BET, Sky Channel 191 at 8pm. Read the full Maya Angelou interview in The Voice next week (February 23).

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