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Get in the mood for summer with Maya Angelou’s 1957 performance of calypso hit “Run Joe.”

Emily Temple

May 28, 2021, 10:00am

It’s officially Memorial Day weekend, AKA the unofficial start of summer, and I am feeling very much like I should be sipping a fruity drink on a hot porch somewhere, listening to sunny earworms and tanning my feet, as somewhere in the distance, a dog barks neon light flashes GOOD VIBES ONLY. (Okay, that got fairly millennial there, sorry, but you get the drift.)

To encourage (or satisfy) this kind of summer mood, might I recommend this short clip of Maya Angelou performing the song “Run Joe”? It’s technically not a live performance, but was recorded as part of the 1957 movie musical Calypso Heat Wave. Still, this is the only video recording of Angelou performing calypso that I have been able to uncover—and boy do I wish there were more. (That extremely white guy clapping his face off at the end is cringe, but I sort of can’t blame him.) Happy summer, all.

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