CultureFamous folksVideos

A Must Watch Conversation Between Maya Angelou and Dave Chappelle

dave chappelle maya angelou

Wow. That’s what I said after watching the conversation between Dr. Maya Angelou and Dave Chappelle. It’s from an episode of Sundance Channel’s Iconoclasts, where they spent a day together in her home in Winston-Salem. I’ve never seen it until today and I am floored by the poignant, insightful, and really important moment they had.

This was in 2006, after Dave Chappelle walked away from his show and $50 million contract with Comedy Central.

Maya Angelou asks him what made him walk and the conversation evolves into talking about the icons we know and living through the 60s. The end, though. The end is a gem.

Watch this, because you will understand why Dave walked away and watch it because you will want to soak it all up. It is so worth it.

This is a gold mine. It was rice and stew for my soul. And that ending…

“You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.” – Maya Angelou

That was a gift to watch. And Maya’s life was a gift to us. We are the legacy so we better pick up the torch.

My tribute post to her – Maya Angelou: Rise in Power After Living in Purpose.

Previous post

Maya Angelou: Rise in Power After Living in Purpose

Next post

The Grossness of Green Ketchup: Throwback Thursday


  1. Court
    May 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I saw this episode, and I love this show. It is pure greatness.

  2. jcanwisegrrl
    May 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Beautiful! So many gems here. I loved what she had to say about the danger of making someone out to be larger than life and about being angry but not bitter.

  3. MissMelia
    May 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I recall Janet Jackson talking about being on set of Poetic Justice and how Dr. Angelou had a powerful moment with Tupac. She reported that Tupac was in tears by the end of their conversation.

  4. Felicia A R
    May 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    This is such a wonderful video…thank you for posting! Rest in peace Maya Angelou.

  5. Darcenia McDowell
    May 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Saw this episode when it was first aired it is a great episode and I think Dave was def in awe the entire time. Does this series still broadcast ( got rid of the cable at least 3 years ago)? They did a great job matching folks together and this made for interesting viewing.

  6. May 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    It’s actually called Winston-Salem. Thanks for posting this too. Iconoclasts stopped airing in 2006 after six seasons. Not sure if they will bring it back or not but they should. Especially when it affords us moments like this one.

  7. marissa
    May 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Please watch the whole thing. It’s beautiful!

  8. KayMac
    May 28, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I just got my life within this 9 minutes and 47 seconds….I thank God for Dr Angelou. Rest in peace, dear Queen.

  9. May 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you. That was powerful.

  10. May 28, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I remember seeing this last year on the Sundance Channel. I was in awe then, and I’m in awe now. This woman meant so much.

    UGH, the FEELS right now! :’-(

  11. May 28, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Damn near the Gospel.

  12. ASNYC621
    May 28, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    This has got me shedding real thug tears and I don’t give a fuck. Especially in light of the actions of a misogynistic racist and the vocal support he’s received, it gets tiresome to be a woman, a person of color, and a woman of color in this world. But, she endured so much with grace and each indignity was just fuel on a righteous fire. We have to fight in her name and to honor the nourishment she provided us for so many years. No number of memorials, regardless of form, can adequately and properly honor her, only rising up and staying up will. We have to find our courage, which she pronounced to be the greatest virtue, so that no threat, act of violence, injustice, or bullying by the powerful will go unchecked. Take to the streets, take up the pen, take people to task, take up space they say isn’t ours, take rights they say we aren’t entitled to, take up your spot at the table, but don’t take it anymore because we owe her that much.

    *runs off sobbing*

  13. Kim
    May 28, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Oh wow. Thank you for sharing this! I’d never seen it.

  14. May 29, 2014 at 3:48 am

    Thank you for sharing Luvie, this was like a private session of artists musing!

  15. Joy
    May 29, 2014 at 6:49 am


    Has the video been taken down? Can’t see it, doesn’t load. Would love to view it.


  16. May 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this! What a rich addition to public dialog this is, and such delicate, beautiful moments between the two artists.

  17. Lisa G
    May 29, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    True wisdom from Maya Angelou. And Dave Chappelle — I never heard his own explanation for leaving Comedy Central before. He makes perfect sense, and I have renewed respect for him. Thank you for posting this great conversation.

  18. Ronda
    May 29, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I just saw the episode a few days ago. Awesome!!! It’s available on Comcast Xfinity on-demand until 6/30/14. It’s S2 Ep5

  19. May 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Can’t stop crying. Hit me in a space that hasn’t been touched in a while. Never saw this before. LOVE.

  20. May 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Powerful I enjoyed it

  21. peace
    May 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you Jah Rastafari for the gift of your beloved dawta, Maya Angelou. Reading your words I felt the intentions of love. I am grateful to have had eyes to read her words.

  22. tonialw920
    May 30, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    *sigh* Thank you Luvvie and God Bless

  23. June 1, 2014 at 2:41 am

    You are growing, Luvvie. You DO have insight to the African American experience, after all. Never play small and never pretend to be ignorant. The African American experience is, simply put, the human experience and any human can relate. Mother Maya IS the African American experience. Yet she belongs to the whole world. Her books literally saved my sanity as a young black girl in America, surrounded by nothing affirming me when I needed affirming. Maya’s books affirmed me. When I was 20 years old, she breathed life into my broken spirit. But I know she’s done that for men and women of all races, creeds, colors, nationalities. Simply put, I love her. And that’s not hard to understand no matter where in the world you where born.

  24. […] Must Watch Convo Between Maya Angelou + Dave Chappelle […]

  25. June 14, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    This show is wow. Thanks for sharing

  26. […] we finish with “Do Your Thing. . .” This week, it’s Maya Angelou heavy. I mention a video that features Dave Chappelle telling Maya Angelou why he walked away from $50 million and Maya […]

  27. […] Your Thing. . .” This week, the guys go heavy on the late Maya Angelou. Mervyn highlights a video that features Dave Chappelle telling Maya Angelou why he walked away from $50 million and Maya […]