No one can scratch your itch or convey your message like yourself. (Ethiopia)
1933 – Nina Simone was born as Eunice Kathleen Waymon.
Have you got a favorite Nina Simone song/message?
"Young, Gifted, and Black" found me in my protest phase, with high Afro, dashikis, and a number of books officially banned by the Jamaican government of the time. For example, my books by Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver, and Stokeley Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) had to be wrapped in brown paper and kept out of sight. So for me, "Young, Gifted and Black" has a special place as the mantra of a generation that believed that Black was truly beautiful.
The cover by Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths also carries some great memories for me, apart from which Bob and Marcia are such talented artistes.
Nina Simone, sixth of seven children born to a poor family in North Carolina, stayed close to her roots in the Black community. Although she was trained as a classical pianist at Juillard School of Music, she sang pop, jazz, blues, gospel, spirituals, classical music, songs from musicals and opera, as well as African chants and her own compositions. She became a singer almost by accident. In 1954, a bar owner hired her to play piano, and he insisted that she must sing as well.
Her "Misssissippi Goddam" expresses her outrage at brutality and injustice. Simone wrote this song after a Birmingham church was bombed in 1963 and four Black girls were killed. Not surprisingly, several Southern states banned this song. To hear the Priestess preach it, please click here
She performed and sang at the Selma and Montgomery civil rights marches, and also wrote Civil Rights songs, including one written on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jnr.
In 1970, Simone went into self-imposed exile from the US. She lived in Barbados, Liberia, and parts of Europe, and died in Switzerland in 2003. At her request, her ashes were scattered in four African countries.
Her message lives on.
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