Celebrating Black History Month: February 11

11 Feb

The Legendary Nina Simone

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Nina Simone. I remember crying my eyes out on April 21, 2003 when I heard that Nina Simone died. I fell in love with her smoky jazz voice so many years ago.  I can’t drink gin without thinking of our Nina. Simone’s response to the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the bombing of the church in Birmingham that killed four children, was, Mississippi Goddam. In Mississippi Goddam, we see Simone taking her place in the civil rights movement. Unlike Dr. King, Simone advocated violence if necessary in order to establish a separate state for African-Americans–who could blame her. You can only feel beaten down so much without building up a great amount of rage. I have such a great admiration for Dr. King for sublimating his rage into non-violent means. The song Backlash Blues was written by her friend Langston Hughes. Simone was also friends with Lorraine Hansberry and turned one of her plays, To Be Young, Gifted and Black into a civil rights song.  In 1972, Aretha Franklin did a cover of the same song. Nina Simone you are missed and cherished.

2 Responses to “Celebrating Black History Month: February 11”

  1. webwordwarrior February 11, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    OMG! I love her! Another of the wonderful singers I learned to love from my dad. (Scary memory: my father in his bathrobe belting out “Call me PEACHES!”)
    I made a mix tape in college (yes, I’m old enough to have made tapes) I called my “coping tape.” It included two by Nina, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and Break Down and Let It All Out. The power and passion of her voice was incomparable.
    Thanks for honoring this wonderful woman.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 11, 2011 at 6:14 am #

      Lex, while I may have to punish you for the image of your dad in his bathrobe singing “Call Me Peaches,” I’m glad you have the same adoration for our Nina that I do. Nina is one of the women I could have actually crossed the road for. 🙂

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