By: MacKenzie Fox
Folk Music was started by Africans, who combined music and dance they seen from Europeans with their own music and dance originated in Africa. Folk music is portrayed in different ways through fiddlers, children’s game songs, work songs, creole songs and protest songs. Due to Nina Simone’s singing in opposition to racism and the oppression of black people, her songs fit into the protest music category. She wasn’t only involved with protests musically but she also participated in protests since the age of 12. Known as the “High Priestess of Soul”, she had always been deeply dedicated to activism and civil rights. Yes, her music portrayed all of this but she also focused on contributing music to black women as well.
Born & raised in North Carolina like myself, Eunice Waymon took on the name Nina Simone as she became well known through her music. She exemplified feminism through her work by speaking specifically to women rights and the different problems they encountered. In her song “Four Women”, this song represented the struggles black women dealt with during slavery times as well as recurrent issues. For example, in the song lyrics she mentioned “my life is rough, i’m awfully bitter these days” but also sung “my back is strong, strong enough to take the pain.” She encourages and speaks on strength within black women despite the the many bad issues faced throughout time. The song is located below to listen to.
Till this day, many people still look up to her and see her as an amazing musical artist. She has been used in current day music, as Jay-Z has incorporated a sample of her song “Four Women” into the background of his song “The Story of O.J. ” that dropped in 2017. Kanye West has also done the same, using a sample of Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit” in his song “Blood on The Leaves.” Lil Wayne, Timbaland and more artists have incorporated her music into theirs as well. This shows how big of an impact she had not only had in the civil rights movements and protests, but in the music industry as well. The two songs mentioned are placed below.