Nina Simone’s troubles were highlighted in the recent gripping documentary by Liz Garbus, What Happened, Miss Simone? Though Simone had her fair share of challenges, it was her incredibly resonant voice and musical genius that contributed to the gradual accumulation of legends surrounding her....more
Posts Tagged: Nina Simone
At Largehearted Boy, essayist, literary experimentalist, and scholar Mary Capello shares an annotated playlist for her new essay collection, Life Breaks In (University of Chicago Press). She describes mood as the “companion and muse” for her writing:
If there is one subject under the sun that defies our ordering systems even as it tempts us to apply lists to it again and again and again, it is mood.
Given the anarchic, traumatic, and deeply worrying events of recent months, some might begin to lose hope. However, music—and especially jazz, the most particularly American music—never seems to lose its power to soothe and calm us. Louis Armstrong, in a special song that might sound deceptively typical to the hasty listener, made a groundbreaking statement on race relations in his recording of the 1929 Fats Waller tune, “Black and Blue.” Rather than making a misguided apology for his own racial identity, as some have interpreted it, Armstrong’s incomparable dignity transforms the bluesy song into an ageless lament that rivals monumental recordings like Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit.” Maybe we are all feeling a little black and blue today....more
In addition to his song “Spiritual,” which deals with the issue of police brutality, Jay Z has released a playlist of songs to get us through the crushing violence lately exposed by social media. “Songs for Survival” includes music by Beyoncé, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Common, Outkast, Gil Scott-Heron, Fela Kuti, Kendrick Lamar, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Kanye West, and others....more
Ever since Zoe Saldana was set to play Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina, controversy has surrounded the casting choice. Writing in the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates says that the issue isn’t just about Saldana’s lighter skin tone, but the erasure of Simone’s facial features and what it says about America’s racist beauty standards:
Saldana has said that others actors who better resembled Simone passed on the role, and that she herself declined it for a year.
The much-anticipated documentary of soul genius Nina Simone is available from Netflix starting today, with its rare archival footage and new interviews with family and colleagues, including the artist’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, and music director, Al Schackman. As the date has approached, tracks have been popping up from RCA Record’s upcoming album Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone, such as covers by Ms....more
“We both know what memories can bring, they bring diamonds and rust.” –Joan Baez
“I believe Nina Simone tried to build that gun because that night she realized what all other-ed bodies eventually realize: a gun was already at her head. She feared a song might not be enough. The fact that this gun could not be seen didn’t make it any less real or lethal....more