You may see the name “Nina Simone” and think of her singing. But do you think about her involvement as a civil rights activist? Or her forcefulness to combat oppression?
Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon, 1933-2003) was a minister’s daughter who, honestly, probably just got sick and tired of the world mistreating people. She performed several of her songs before civil rights events, including the Selma march. She didn’t let anybody telling her she couldn’t stop her from doing it another way.
Simone’s most blatant address of racial inequality occurred in her song, “Mississipi Goddam” after the Medgar Evers murder and Baptist church bombing in Birmingham. It has been described as something everybody wanted to say, but nobody dared.
Recently, we have seen singers doing similar things in their work (Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar). It is never okay to just sit by and watch injustice happen. These singers realized they had the power to use their work for good and took that chance.