Nina Simone: A Sophisticated Musical Goddess

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Over and over again critics write about Nina Simone’s power and charisma throughout the Civil Rights Movement. She sang the words of an entire movement, “All I want is equality/ for my sister, my brother, my people, and me./ Yes, you lied to me all these years”(Simone Mississippi). She sang out for her entire race, and with a “smoky- toned” voice, when four young girls were killed in a church bombing (Lewis). She sang “Will my country fall, stand or fall?/ Is it too late for us all?/ And did Martin Luther King just die in vain? (Simone Why?) after the death of MLK. Nina Simone… a singer with many different voices, a singer who denies categorization, a woman who is genre-less to prove a point.

"'It's always been my aim to stay outside any category'. 'That's my freedom,'" she insisted to one reporter. But it was a "freedom" that, according to biographer David Nathan, "drove industry pundits and the music press crazy as they tried to categorize her" (Brooks). Critics have tried to catalog her in genres ranging from the most obvious, jazz, to “wing to bebop to free jazz within which...

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