ATLANTA (AP) _ It didn't take long to figure out Maya Angelou
was in the building.
The author and poet was met with a chorus of cheers and camera
flashes from onlookers as she moved across the red carpet into her
80th birthday celebration at Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center
When asked how she felt about the star-studded gala thrown in
her honor, she said, ``It reminds me of how blessed I am.''
The pricey soiree focused speakers and performances on many of
the areas where Angelou has spent her career: dance, spirituality
and human rights.
The evening included performances by soul singer
Candi Staton, gospel star Daron Norwood and comedian Chris Tucker.
It was hosted by filmmaker Tyler Perry and actress Lynn
Whitfield. Other guests included R&B legend Quincy Jones, rapper
T.I. and Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin
Luther King Jr.
The Atlanta gala was thrown by civil rights icon Andrew Young
and his family, who are longtime friends with Angelou.
Proceeds from the tickets -- ranging from $100 to $500 -- benefit a
southwest Atlanta YMCA teen center bearing her name.