Singer Nina Simone is the high priestess of soul
Rhapsody in Black - Nina Simone
American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and activist Nina Simone found her calling in jazz after a career as a classical pianist was halted before her eyes. That might have been for the best, because we might have never gotten the version of Simone we have today. Her life’s work in music and civil rights continues to inspire and help people follow her simple doctrine: “It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times.” That is exactly what she did.
Musical selections from Nina Simone
Simone has created her amazing legacy by telling the story of Black female empowerment and rejecting imposed expectations. "Feeling Good” is not only one of her most popular songs, but it was a call to challenge boundaries and encourage empowered expressions of Black culture and beauty.
This work is one of her most famous protest songs and is considered her first civil rights piece. It is in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, and the murders of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers in Mississippi.
‘Little Liza Jane’
Performed live at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960, “Little Liza Jane” is a leisure song of enslaved Black Americans. Simone’s singing of this song is an important part of reclaiming Black history and music.
Host: Tesfa Wondemagegnehu
Producer: Dan Nass
Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship
Executive Producer: Julie Amacher