CELEBRATING - NINA SIMONE
She was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, an icon of American music. A musical storyteller - a griot who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works. She earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment.
Simone's consciousness on the racial and social discourse became an expectation in her repertoire. This awareness was the driving force behind one of Nina's more hopeful activism anthems, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black". Simone's social commentary was not limited to the civil rights movement; the song "Four Women" exposed the restrictive beauty standards imposed on black women in America, it explored the internalized dilemma of beauty that is experienced between four black women with skin-tones ranging from light to dark. She explains in her autobiography that the purpose of the song was to inspire black women to define beauty and identity for themselves without the influence of societal impositions.