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Harlem Hopscotch!

January 28, 2015

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Before she died, author/poet Maya Angelou was working on an album of her poems set to music called Caged Bird Songs, and it was released in November 2014- check out the video for "Harlem Hopscotch"!

 

Derek Hough in the video for harlem HopscotchDerek Hough in the video for harlem Hopscotch

Harlem Hopscotch

The video for "Harlem Hopscotch" features incredible street dancing, and you might even see a few faces you recognize - like ZendayaDancing with the Stars' Derek Hough, Nia Peeples and Alfonso Ribiero and dancers from America's Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance. Something you may not know about Maya Angelou is that before she ever started her career as a writer, she was a dancer who toured African American colleges and even studied calypso music and African dance and won 3 Grammy's for her spoken word poetry over the course of her life.

Check out "Harlem Hopscotch" below.

 

Caged Bird Songs

The title of the album featuring "Harlem Hopscotch" is based on African American writer Maya Angelou's most famous autobiography - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maya blended some of her most loved poems with hip hop by teaming up with producers Shawn Rivera and RoccStarr. There are thirteen poems on the album re-mixed as songs. Unfortunately Maya died just months before the album could be released in 2014.

Caged Bird Songs features poetry by Maya AngelouCaged Bird Songs features poetry by Maya Angelou

Track List

  1. Human Family
  2. Pow Pow
  3. Sepia Fashion Show
  4. Harlem Hopscotch
  5. Pickin’ Em Up
  6. On Aging
  7. Ain’t That Bad
  8. One More Round
  9. Come And Be My Baby
  10. The Thirteens
  11. Africa
  12. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
  13. Still I Rise

Maya Angelou's grandson Colin Johnson said:

"She loved everything, from pop to country and, of course, hip-hop. With her dedication to social activism and how she illuminated the struggles and injustices of the urban experience through prose, there's a direct correlation to hip-hop today. She was really excited about her street-wise commentary being presented in this way."

Maya AngelouMaya Angelou

You can listen to the rest of the songs and order the album here.

Have Your Say

What do you think of "Harlem Hopscotch"? Let us know in the comments section below.