When Andrew Young needed a distinctive voice to read the inspirational words of Mahatma Gandhi for his latest television documentary, he just happened to have a spoken word multi-Grammy Award winner in his Rolodex.
So, the former Atlanta mayor trekked up to Wake Forest University in North Carolina to visit his old pal, poet Dr. Maya Angelou to record her for his new special, “Andrew Young Presents: In the Footsteps of Gandhi.”
Young came armed with an 81st birthday gift for his old friend, and Angelou graciously agreed to help her fellow civil rights marcher. She just wanted to know one thing: What took Young so long to ask her?
The pair have been pals for decades.
Young says he first met Angelou when she was working for Martin Luther King Jr. in New York in 1961. Later, she came to Atlanta and campaigned for him when he was running for Congress in 1970.
Added Young: “And she has been involved in everything I’ve done ever since.”
In May of 2007, Angelou flew in to help Young celebrate his 75th birthday at the Hyatt Regency downtown. A year later, Young was on hand to celebrate Angelou’s 80th at the Woodruff Arts Center. The gala evening also served as a fund-raiser for the Dr. Maya Angelou Teen Center at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA in southwest Atlanta..
The poet’s commanding readings will be sprinkled throughout “Gandhi.”
Buzz readers will recall that Young’s new special commemorates the 50th anniversary of his friend Dr. King’s historic pilgirmage to India to learn the non-violent teachings of Gandhi.
For the recent trip to Mumbai, Young took along and shot poignant footage with Martin Luther King III who re-traced his father’s footsteps for the doc.
Explaining why it was important to mark the anniversary, Young borrowed at quote from his departed friend Martin: “Violence is the language of the unheard.”
A free public advance screening of the documentary will be unveiled Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the High Museum of Art in Midtown. TV viewers can also set their DVRs to record the special when it makes its broadcast debut Saturday on WSB-TV at 1:30 p.m.
NBA legends Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley, along with music and film producer Dallas Austin at Whiskey Blue at the W Atlanta Midtown hotel. Also spotted: Atlanta real estate mogul Lee Najjar. And no, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” songbird Kim Zolciak was not spotted anywhere near her alleged friend Najjar or Austin, her former songwriting coach.
Actor Lyle Waggoner (”The Carol Burnett Show”) is 74. Actor Paul Sorvino is 70. Actor Tony Dow (”Leave It To Beaver”) is 64. Musician Al Green is 63. Actor Ron Perlman is 59. Singer Peabo Bryson is 58. “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” bandleader Max Weinberg is 58. Actress-comedian Caroline Rhea (”Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” ”The Biggest Loser”) is 45. Actor Ricky Schroder is 39. Singer Lou Bega is 34. Singer Nellie McKay is 27.
Contributing: News services.
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