In 1993, she recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, which brought her powerful words to a much larger audience.
The dating world after divorce is a lot of things—exciting, fun, scary, sometimes horrible, but most of all, a test.
"That scene creates a bit of intrigue for the viewer," Whack says. At that time it was very difficult for people from the black community to get into film, and for her to have pulled her folding chair up to that table was quite something." "Like a lot of people, she reinvented herself as she went along in life," Hercules adds.
More than perhaps any writer of her time, Whack says, Angelou wove herself into the fabric of American culture.
21 on PBS — directors Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules faced the challenge of arranging those "most-known things" to show the artist in ways both revealing and unexpected.
In that, they succeed from the very first frame, when the soundtrack erupts with Angelou — whose late-life persona was that of a dignified literary lion — singing in a long-forgotten 1957 movie musical, Calypso Heat Wave.