Here’s something I did not know about Maya Angelou: in the younger part of her long and colorful life she sometimes worked as a prostitute (her word), brothel manager, and exotic dancer. As you would expect, she seems not to have been unduly ashamed about this past nor reluctant to talk about it; it was included in one of her books. Tits and Sass has an interesting article about the modern erasure of Maya Angelou’s sex work history, if you’d like to know more:

So why is it very few of us know she was a sex worker? Why is it, even in her death, as in her life, it’s such a guarded secret? Why was this secret kept by seemingly everyone except Dr. Angelou herself?