Nina Simone and Folk Music

Nina Simone used her talents to make a change. Through her music, she addressed topics such as racism, Black empowerment, and more during the Civil Rights Movement. Nina Simone’s impact also led to progress for black women as a whole. Folk music was used to tell the stories of Black experiences, and that is exactly what Nina Simone did during the Civil Rights Movement.

Folk Music

Music was an essential part of African culture- dancing, singing, and playing instruments. As a way to adjust to the New World, Secular Folk Music was created. Secular Folk Music is the combination of what was learned in Africa and what was learned in the New World. Folk music was an outlet for people to tell their story. In some cases, it also served as a form of communication. Folk music was portrayed in various ways: children’s game songs, work songs, field holler/cry, etc. To those who were enslaved, Folk music played an important role in their daily life. Even after slavery ended, Folk music was still utilized as a method of story-telling. Artists such as Nina Simone used Folk Music during times of activism and black liberation struggles. Folk music connects generations, and is still used in current music today.

Nina Simone

Eunice Waymon, also known as Nina Simone, from North Carolina was known for her impact in the music industry. Nina Simone’s voice was unique. Her talents of singing and piano playing took her very far in life. As Nina Simone aged, her interest in racial politics began to increase. With her interest in politics and passion for music, she combined the two and used her talents to fight for change for the black community. Nina Simone’s well known song “Mississippi Goddam” was an attempt to combat the racism. Nina Simone identified as a folk singer. Nina Simone was devoted to music as well as protest and activism. In addition to her significance in music, she also made progress for black women as an influential activist. 

A fact that many people may not know is that Nina Simone attended The Juilliard School for piano.


Nina Simone, along with other influential black women artists such as Lauryn Hill, impacted the music industry and made progress for black women. Nina Simone used her music to tell the experiences of the Black community and black women. She advocates for change. Nina Simone’s voice was powerful. 

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