*Songwriter Valerie Simpson, Tony-award winning dancer and producer George Faison and Harlem, NY Firehouse Theater founder Tedao Schnugg where highly thought of by Maya Angelou. So much so that the late poet and author left them gifts in her will.
According to the New York Daily News, Angelou left unspecified “personal tangible property” to six New York resident through a trust she set up before she died in May at age 86. Court papers filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court reveal that her only child, Guy Bailey Johnson, of Oakland, CA, is administering the trust, which consists of all of Angelou assets.
In addition to Simpson, Faison and Schnugg, beneficiaries include screenwriter Khephra Burns and Altavise Alston, who works with Simpson at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar.
Although she had roots in the South, Angelou maintained strong ties to New York.
“In the last couple of years, she would talk about her will but just say that everything was taken care of,” Schnugg told the Daily News about Angelou’s will. “Nobody has given it a thought. We’re dealing with losing our best friend.”
With an estimated value at $1.5 million from estate attorneys, Angelou’s property in North Carolina and New York was bought by the author in 2002. Her ties to the Big Apple go back to the early 1960s, when she moved there from California and became a member of the Harlem Writers Guild. The Daily News notes that although no valuation was put on the full estate in the North Carolina or New York filings, but before Angelou died, published reports have her net worth valued between $10 million and $34 million..
Court papers go on to state that Angelou’s estate includes a four-unit rental building and a brownstone in Harlem.
Although preparations for a memorial service for Angelou are being made by Faison, Schnugg mentioned to the Daily News that details are not ready to be announced.