Nina Simone's Use of Folk Music to Support Feminism and Impact the Music Industry

By: MacKenzie Fox


Using Folk music Nina Simone supported feminism and protested for her people. Folk music had a few different categories consisting of 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 was involved with protests musically but 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 but also focused on contributing her 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 the support of 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.

Impacting other Musical Artists

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.

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