I discovered the real Nina Simone through a documentary on Netflix last week. Ever since, I've been wondering why I haven't heard of her before this year.
This fascinating woman is relatable, flawed, talented, and bold. Her music helped to shape and frame the Civil Rights Movement, but unlike Marvin Gaye and other artists, her unapologetically black songs are not being played on the radio. Occasionally I will hear her more popular blues hits like Feeling Good
, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
, and I Put a Spell On You
, but hardly ever do I hear Strange Fruit
or Mississippi Goddam
. Why is that? Was it because her then unchecked bipolarism had her speaking with no filter or care of backlash? It's hard to say. It is true that Ms. Simone regularly spoke to the audience encouraging the black members to rise up and fight with deadly force. It's also true that because of her speeches, promoters were afraid to book her. Did the politics of the time also banned her from radio play? Perhaps. Nevertheless, she is still adored by fans worldwide and her music still has significance to those who hear it today.
This song is my new obsession and now personal motto: "To be young, gifted, and black is where its at!" I plan to pass this message of self-love and empowerment to my daughter.#YoungGiftedAndBlack#RIPNinaSimone