nina simone

INina Simone had held music dear to her heart since she was a child. She was enrolled in classical piano lessons and choir from a young age and she took to them almost instantly. That love of music and natural talent went on to propel her, though not necessarily smoothly, through her music career. After facing countless struggles against racism throughout her academic career she had to hustle to provide for herself. After getting her start in secular nightclubs she faced rejection from those closest to her, her parents. Despite that rejection she continued to pursue her calling. It was that spirit that would fortify her through her long struggle through the civil rights era. When Simone released her first civil rights song, “Mississippi Goddamn” she was aware of how it might affect her career but she persisted and became one of the most influential civil rights advocates of her time and ours. Throughout the wide variety of genres performed by Ms. Simone what remained the most consistent was the presence of civil rights activism in her music.

-brooke joynes

Nina Simone was a talented, free spirited, and passionate individual. Her wide ranging musical style and talents along with her political and social activism is why she is a household name. Despite her original plans to play classical music, Nina Simone became popular for performing a mixture of jazz, blues, folk, and classical music. She used her voice to speak out for her people and dedicated her life to serve others whether it was in political acts or through her music.

-cornelia stokes