The other day Maya Angelou had an interview on the Steve Harvey Morning Show to advertise some event that she was appearing at in New York City. Apparently, Dr. Angelou hung up the phone while waiting for her segment because the voice she heard prior to her interview, “...sounded like a minstrel show…didn’t sound like the Steve Harvey that she’s used to hearing…the one who’s always uplifting, blah blah blah…”
The “minstrel show” that Dr. Angelou was hearing was Steve’s rendition of Sister Odell. Sister Odell appeared on the morning show that day because of some foolish strawberry letter that had been read the segment before and her comedic appearance was not only encouraged by Steve’s teammates, but it was needed. And it was funny to boot.
Y’all know Sis. Odell, right? She’s the seasoned saint that most of us knew while growing up in the church. She’s the older lady that wore the veiled church hats on top of perfectly styled wig, colorfully printed dresses, cocoa brown stockings and dressy, orthopedic shoes. She always had the red-n-white “church” mints in her pocketbook and the wad of folded up K.leenex in her purse for your snotty nose. Sometimes, she would pronounce words incorrectly when she read the church announcements; sometimes she’d ramble on when giving her testimony; and other times (albeit rare), she’d let out a lil’ curse word. But what Sister Odell also did was drop some straight up knowledge on the young folks. She didn’t take kindly to foolishness and held no cut cards in telling you when you were dead wrong or just plain dumb. And she always did it in love…bless her heart.
Sidebar: Why is the portrayal of the church lady almost always a man dressed as a woman?
I read on a message board about what happened and the general consensus was that Dr. Angelou was a respected elder in our collective community who was putting Steve in his place and that Steve did right by letting her say her peace and move on with the interview (although he did get a dig in on the low-low). But something didn’t settle with me.
I figured out what it was on my ride home that evening, Sister Odell and Madea are likely sisters. And last I checked Dr. Angelou was front row and center at one of Madea’s minstrel shows named Madea’s Family Reunion. In that movie, Dr. Angelou not only witnessed, but she also participated in scenes with Sister Odell Madea. Hmmmhh, wonder what’s the difference?
While I agree that Steve handled the situation properly, somebody needs to respectfully check Dr. Maya on this one.
What’s your take on the situation? Dr. Angelou on Steve Harvey