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A 30-Year-Old Clip Of Maya Angelou Correcting A Teen Has New School Twitter Up In Arms

"A young woman like you, or any other, has no license to come up to me and call me by my first name," Angelou says in the clip.

A video of Maya Angelou checking a teenage girl for calling her by her first name went viral and sparked a Twitter debate Friday about names, age and respect like none other.

In the video, which Newsweek reports is from the early 1990s, Angelou is sitting on stage taking questions from the audience. The host chooses a young girl who begins her question by addressing Angelou as "Maya."

“Oh, thank you,” Angelou replies to the girl in the clip. "And first, I’m Ms. Angelou."

"I’m not Maya, I’m 62 years old," Angelou continues. "I’ve lived so long and tried so hard that a young woman like you, or any other, has no license to come up to me and call me by my first name. That’s first. Also, because at the same time, I’m your mother, I’m your auntie, I’m your teacher, I'm your professor. See?”

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The clip was uploaded by Twitter user Prince Pierre (@PrinceCharmingP) on Thursday night who captioned it, "I can’t wait to turn 30 so I can read one of yall for calling me by my first name like this."



By Friday morning, the video had amassed over 10,000 retweets, 30,000 likes and more than 1.2 million views.



Conversations around the video delved into debates around age, names, manners and respect. Some commenters found Angelou's response rude, while others took no issue with Angelou demanding respect.














Pierre later responded to the controversy stirred by his tweet, writing, "Imagine being called 'boy' and 'girl' your whole life by white people who didn’t respect you. Fighting for your life and the rights for others after you, just so those same people can grow up and say, 'Yo mama named you Maya so Ima call you Maya' ... smh what a time to be alive."


Angelou's intent was not to disrespect the young lady. After the incident, she apologized to the teenager for being "short:"



 

Now, can we all agree we ought to watch our mouths when talking to elders, PERIODT?! Rest in peace to the literary queen.


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Jazzi Johnson is a full-time writer, content creator, and producer. Raised a southern gal who blossomed into adulthood in NYC, she's recently moved to Los Angeles to continue exploring all things related to storytelling. Follow her for more.