Monday, June 9, 2014

  • Remembering Maya Angelou: Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey Pay Tribute to Legendary Poet

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    The writer and activist Maya Angelou was remembered Saturday at a memorial service in North Carolina. Angelou died last month at the age of 86. Born in the Jim Crow South, Angelou rose to become one of the world’s most celebrated writers. After becoming an accomplished singer and actress, Angelou was deeply involved in the 1960s civil rights struggle, working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Encouraged by the author James Baldwin, among others, to focus on her writing, Angelou penned "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," her first of seven autobiographies. The book launched the phenomenal career for which she is known around the world as an award-winning author and poet. First lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and media mogul Oprah Winfrey were among the dignitaries to honor Angelou at Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest University, where she taught for three decades. "She showed us that eventually, if we stayed true to who we are, then the world would embrace us," Obama said. "And she did this not just for black women, but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us all that it is OK to be your regular old self, whatever that is, your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self. That was Maya Angelou’s reach."

  • Freed from Prison, Bahraini Activist Nabeel Rajab Urges U.S. to Stop Backing Regime’s Crackdown

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    Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, joins us after nearly two years behind bars for his role in pro-democracy protests. With the critical backing of the U.S. and neighboring Gulf states, the Bahraini government has waged a crackdown on opposition protesters since an uprising broke out in February 2011. "We have been abandoned by the American government. We have been ignored completely," Rajab says. "They support a dictatorship here. ... No one can change their policy except the American people." We are also joined by Human Rights Watch’s Josh Colangelo, author of a new report that finds Bahrain’s courts have played a key role in maintaining the country’s highly repressive political order, routinely sentencing peaceful protesters to lengthy prison terms.

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    Alison Bechdel’s "Fun Home": The Coming-Out Memoir That Became a Hit Broadway Musical
    In a Democracy Now! special, we look at the acclaimed Broadway musical "Fun Home," which swept the Tony Awards last month. Composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist Lisa Kron made history as the first female duo to win a Tony Award for Best Original Score. "Fun Home" is also the first-ever Broadway musical to feature a lesbian protagonist. The musical is based on the 2006 best-selling graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic." The memoir is a poignant exploration of family, memory, first love,...