GILDED CAGES

Maya Angelou’s Heirs in Bitter Feud Over Her Money

Maya Angelou’s grandson is trying to bankrupt her legacy, according to his own father, who filed a lawsuit in California courts on Monday. Guy Bailey Johnson has accused his son, Colin Ashanti Murphy-Johnson, of trying to cut him out of the proceeds from Caged Bird Legacy, the company that manages the intellectual property of the author and poet, including her copyrights. Angelou, the beloved author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was awarded the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Upon her death in 2014, 25 percent of her company’s proceeds were gifted to Murphy-Johnson—but now, his father claims, Angelou’s grandson is raiding the coffers to fund an “extravagant” lifestyle and has allegedly borrowed hundreds of thousands from the company. Murphy-Johnson has not responded publicly to the suit.