Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tyler Perry, Usher, and Other Stars Celebrate Maya Angelou

From Access Atlanta: On May 4, Atlanta will host a star-studded 80th birthday celebration for poet and author Maya Angelou. And Buzz has learned exclusively that the evening will also serve as the inaugural fund-raiser for a brand-new teen center to be named in Angelou’s honor at the Andrew and Walter Young YMCA on Campbellton Road.

"Maya Angelou is the embodiment of who she’s writing about in her poem ‘Phenomenal Woman,’ " Andrew Young told Buzz. "It also pretty much describes what we’re shooting for with the new center as well. For a while now, we’ve wanted to create a teen center at the Y in a supervised environment. Sometimes in the black community, poverty is not necessarily economic but something based in self-esteem. I look at some of the rappers and hip-hop artists out there now who have money but still don’t have it together. It’s because no one taught them the importance of self-esteem. Hopefully, with this center, we can create change."

The evening at Atlanta Symphony Hall will be hosted by Atlanta film director Tyler Perry and his "Madea’s Family Reunion" scene stealer Lynn Whitfield. Other confirmed celebs include "Rush Hour" star Chris Tucker, Tony-winning choreographer George Faison, pop star Usher, "Soul Food" actress Nicole Ari Parker, R&B and gospel singer Candi Staton, writer Pearl Cleage and MLK’s daughter Bernice King.

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