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Maya Angelou’s Conversation With Tupac Shakur

When author and poet Maya Angelou was working on the 1993 film Poetic Justice featuring Janet Jackson, she had an interesting encounter with one of the film's other stars, rapper Tupac Shakur.

"I didn't know who he was," said Angelou. "I heard he was in a big row with another young man and so I said to him, 'May I speak to you?' And he was cursing, whoo, 'I wouldn't give a...!' I said, 'I understand that. However, let me speak to you.' And finally I said, 'When was the last time anyone told you how important you are? Did you know our people stood on auction blocks, were sold, bought and sold, did you know so that you could stay alive today?'"

Angelou then had a moment with Shakur. 

"And finally he heard me and stopped talking and started to weep and I put my arms around him and I walked him back into the arena and he quieted. And I went back to my trailer and Janet Jackson came running into my trailer and she said, 'Dr. Angelou, I don't believe you actually spoke to Tupac Shakur.'

"So I said, 'Darling, I don't know six-pack.' I had never heard of him. That wasn't in my world."

Maya Angelou's interview with George will air as part of a special New Year's Eve episode on Tuesday, December 31 at 11:30 p.m. on CBC.