In celebration of Women’s History Month, we decided to focus on biopics of female trailblazers and used their influence to fight for the rights of all women across the globe. 

These were the choices:

And the winner was…

Maya Angelou’s And Still I Rise

1h 54m | 2016

Director: Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack

Starring: Maya Angelou


Here’s what the teen audience had to say…

Final Rating: 8/10

Every Virtual PaaM night, we ask the teens what they thought about the winning movie. Keep scrolling, to read what they had to say about this empowering documentary

*Spoilers ahead*

What surprised you about Maya Angelou’s life?

Maia: I never knew that she was a singer. 

Meryum: I didn’t know she was a dancer and actress.

Emily: I didn’t know she was an actress.

Katrina: I didn’t know that she had a son, or that she was a dancer or director. She was connected to so many places in the world.

Dani: I didn’t know that she sang calypso even though I grew up on it.

Rachel: I didn’t know that the movie, I know why the caged birds sing, was about her life.

What was your favorite story from the film? 

Meryum: The Tupac one was funny. Tupac said he read her poems when he was incarcerated, he loved Ms.Angelou.

Katrina: I feel like it was pretty emotional when she mentioned the start of her mutism, and how she blamed herself. 

Maia: Her son’s accident was tragic and the last part of the film where they were showing her memorial service was extremely sad. 

Katrina: I also thought that the story of her uncle and even her experience of rape was really important.

Akerah: Seeing Maya Angelou meet Martin Luther King.

Fun Fact: One of the teens Juliana told us they have a sister whose guidance counselor was Tupac’s ex-wife! 

Who is the Maya Angelou of our time? Who has the potential?

Maia: Amanda Gorman I believe has the potential. 

Rachel: My boss honestly. Her name is Katrina and she made an organization called NYC inspiring minds.

Meryum: I haven’t read Michelle Obama’s book yet but I know she probably has a lot of stories to tell like her.

Did you notice or like any interesting features in the film’s style?

Akerah: When she was laughing sarcastically and then started crying, it just made me sympathize with her a lot because some people laugh to hide their pain.

(In response to Akerah)Katrina: I mean I think it showed how open she was about her past. Telling people that there is nothing wrong with having those problems. She lived during a time that really helps to teach people living now, as young people about their ancestors

Meryum: I like how she brought attention to her mutism because that is a very real trauma that can cause a person to not want to speak at all. Also like everyone said her voice was very powerful and I’m sure she was aware of that, so she used her most notable and powerful characteristic as a coping mechanism. I always support mental health awareness

(In response to Meryum)Katrina: And that she convinced herself to doubt what her grandmother said about her strong voice.

Katrina: It was also pretty different how they had other people express her emotions through themselves in a way. It was a great use of foundations. like anecdotes, details that helped form the whole story.

Are there any historical figures mentioned in the film that you’re interested in learning more about?

Katrina: Muz Vake, the person I also thought Juddy Pfeiffer seemed kind of interesting.

Maia: Patrice Lumumba.

Meryum: Def Cicely Tyson. Need to watch her.

Choose 3 words to describe Maya Angelou’s life…

Katrina: Distinct, expansive, and unique. Emotional, inspiring, empowering.

Maia: Heartbreaking, powerful, special.

Dani: Empowering, bold, inspirational.

Juliana: Marvelous.

Yanexy: Poetic, bright, talented.

Would you recommend this film to anyone?

Katrina: Yeah, I would, I think it would be cool for people in the spoken word club at my school to see.

Maia: Yes.

Juliana: I would to my friends.

Meryum: I don’t know if anyone would watch but I would def recommend her books.

Yanexy: The movie was very engaging to watch.

At the end of Virtual PaaM, Rachel had something very touching to say about what Maya Angelou means to them. Rachel said, “For me, Maya has a special place in my heart. In elementary school (5th grade) I was in an all-girls class and we had to recite I rise… the morning that we were supposed to perform she had died and it just brought a diff meaning to the performance.”

Join us for the next FREE Pizza and a Movie!

FRIDAY, APRIL 2nd @ 5-8pm

RSVP here:

PLEASE NOTE: This is a TEENS ONLY event.