Nina: Feeling good

Years ago, on this day we loss one of the greatest black women singer, Mrs. Nina.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Nina Simone was one of the outstanding female artists from the twentieth century of Blues, Jazz, Soul, Gospel, and other genres. She was born in Tryon, North Carolina, United States of America,  on February 21st, 1933, under the name of Eunice Kathleen Waymon. She was the sixth of eight children. Her mother, Mary Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister, and her dad was John Devan Waymon, a handyman and preacher. She died at her home located in the South of France on April 21st, 2003.

5 things to learn from Nina

1- Her childhood was marked by the “Jim Crow” laws. During the debut of one of her classical recital concerts, she refused to play because her parents who were sitting in the front seat were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. She played until her parents were relocated.

2- Even though she was famous, she was not silent to denounce and describe her circle of gender-based- violence.

3- She was proud of her black identity, which she describes in many of her lyrics. The objective of these songs was to shape people’s minds not to be ashamed of their roots.

4- From the first to the last shot in the documentary, Nina Simone was a queen of fashion. She was always put together with colourful clothes, makeup, shoes, bags, hats etc.

5-We all need to let go and be free. Nina did it by abandoning her career and family when she moved to Liberia, Africa. She got a lot of criticisms, but she responded that it was the happiest moment of her life. In an interview, she said: ” Freedom for me is no fear”.

Anytime I watch her concerts, I am amazed to see the way she performs. She was very engaging with her audience, charismatic, she enjoyed being on stage, her body movements and passion while singing said it all. 

One of my favourite songs by Nina is Feeling good from her album I Put a Spell on You (1965):

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel

River running free, you know how I feel

Blossom on the tree, you know how I feelil

For me

And I’m feeling good.

So don’t be silent, sing your song loud and proud, just as Nina did, but also add your part.

Feeling good/Youtube

Nina Simone

¿Qué sabes de Nina Simone? En este artículo hay cinco cosas que deberías saber.

Traducido por Afroféminas

Photo by Jasgleidy Duarte on Unsplash

En este mes de la historia negra quiero compartir con ustedes uno de los íconos de la industria musical y una de mis artista preferida. Ella es Nina Simone.

Nina Simone fue una de las artistas femeninas más destacadas del siglo XX del blues, jazz, soul, gospel y otros géneros. Nació en Tryon, Carolina del Norte, Estados Unidos de América, el 21 de febrero de 1933, bajo el nombre de Eunice Kathleen Waymon. Ella era la sexta de ocho hijos. Su madre, Mary Kate Waymon, era un ministra metodista, y su padre era John Devan Waymon, un predicador. Murió en su casa ubicada en el sur de Francia el 21 de abril de 2003.

5 cosas que debes saber sobre Nina

1- A los tres o cuatro años comenzó a tocar el piano en la iglesia, no cantaba. Un día en su actuación, fue escuchada por la señorita Mazzanovich, quien se interesó en darle clases de piano, donde aprendió música clásica de grandes y famosos músicos como Johann Sebastian Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven y Schubert.

2- Después de estudiar música en Julliard en la ciudad de Nueva York, a los 19 años se postuló al prestigioso Instituto Curtis de Música en Filadelfia, pero su admisión fue denegada. Le tomó varios años admitir que el racismo era la razón. En 2003, pocos días antes de su muerte, el mismo Instituto le otorgó un título honorífico.

3- En 1961, Nina se casó con Andy Stroud, quien se convirtió en su manager y padre de su hija, Lisa Simone Kelly. Desafortunadamente, él abusó de ella física y psicológicamente.

4- Era una activista de los derechos civiles y amiga de Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Correta Scott King y otros. Compuso muchas canciones para la causa.

Ella dijo: «¿Cómo puedes ser artista y no reflejar tu tiempo»? Con la canción Mississippi Goddam, abordó la desigualdad racial por primera vez después del asesinato de Medgar Evers y el bombardeo de la Iglesia Bautista en Birmingham, Alabama, que mató a cuatro chicas negras. El 15 de marzo de 1965, habló y actuó en la marcha de Selma a Montgomery.

5- Nina se volvió violenta en su carrera y vida personal, comportamiento que se entendió cuando le diagnosticaron un trastorno bipolar. Lisa (su hija) sufrió severamente las consecuencias de esto hasta el punto de que adquirió comportamientos suicidas, por lo que tuvo que regresar a Nueva York para vivir con su padre.

Nina Simone

“How can you be an artist and not reflect the time”? Nina Simone

Months ago I watched the documentary What happened Miss Simone?, who is one my of favourite female singers.

The documentary starts with Maya Angelou’s quotation: “Miss Simone you are idolized even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone?” In the first scene, Nina’s bows to the public, she sits at the piano, takes her time, and then starts to talk. This was at a concert in 1968.

The documentary that lasts 1:42 minutes is directed by Liz Garbus and produced by Amy Hobby in 2015. It describes Nina’s life and career through the voices of family members, activists, musicians, friends, etc. accompanied by her own music composition, an interviews done to her, and concerts.

Nina Simone was one of the outstanding female artists from the twentieth century of Blues, Jazz, Soul, Gospel, and other genres. She was born in Tryon, North Carolina, United States of America,  on February 21st, 1933, under the name of Eunice Kathleen Waymon. She was the sixth of eight children. Her mother, Mary Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister, and her dad was John Devan Waymon, a handyman and preacher. She died at her home located in the South of France on April 21st, 2003.

UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1950: Photo of Nina Simone Photo by Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

5 things to know about Nina

1- At age three or four she started to play the piano at church, she didn’t sing. One day at her performance, she was heard by Miss Mazzanovich, who got interested in giving her piano classes, where she learned classical music of great and famous musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert.

2- After studying music at Julliard in New York City, at age 19 she applied to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, but her admission was denied. It took her several years to admit that racism was the reason. In 2003, just days before her death, the same Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

3- In 1961, Nina got married to Andy Stroud, who became her manager and father to her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly. Unfortunately, he abused her physically and psychologically.

4- She was a civil rights activist and friend of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Correta Scott King, and others. She composed a lot of songs for the cause.

She said: ” How can you be an artist and not reflect the time”? With the song Mississippi Goddam, she addressed racial inequality for the first time after the killing of Medgar Evers and the bombing of the Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four black girls.

On the 15 of March, 1965, she spoke and performed at the march from Selma to Montgomery.

One of the parts in the documentary I got chill skin was when she sang To be Young, Gifted and Black, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The title of this song is from a play her friend, Lorraine Hansberry, was writing before her death. 

5- Nina became violent in her career and personal life,  behaviour which was understood when she was diagnosed to be a bipolar disorder. Lisa (her daughter) severely suffered the  consequences of  this to the point that it became suicidal making it necessary for her, to move back to New York to live with her father. 

5 things to learn from Nina

1- Her childhood was marked by the “Jim Crow” laws. During the debut of one of her classical recital concerts, she refused to play because her parents who were sitting in the front seat were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. She played until her parents were relocated.

2- Even though she was famous, she was not silent to denounce and describe her circle of gender violence.

3- She was proud of her black identity, which she describes in many of her lyrics. The objective of these songs was to shape people’s minds not to be ashamed of their roots.

4- From the first to the last shot in the documentary, Nina Simone was a queen of fashion. She was always put together with colourful clothes, makeup, shoes, bags, hats etc.

5-We all need to let go and be free. Nina did it by abandoning her career and family when she moved to Liberia, Africa. She got a lot of criticisms, but she responded that it was the happiest moment of her life. In an interview, she said: ” Freedom for me is no fear”.

Anytime I watch her concerts, I am amazed to see the way she performs. She was very engaging with her audience, charismatic, she enjoyed being on stage, her body movements and passion while singing said it all. 

One of my favourite songs by Nina is Feeling good from her album I Put a Spell on You (1965):

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel

River running free, you know how I feel

Blossom on the tree, you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life

For me

And I’m feeling good.

So don’t be silent, sing your song loud and proud, just as Nina did, but also add your part.

Algunas cosas para saber y aprender de Nina Simone

Traducido por Afroféminas

Durante este tiempo de reclusión, leí un artículo de Afroféminas que recomendaba ver cinco documentales sobre mujeres negras. Lo incluí en mi lista de tareas pendientes. El primero que vi fue What Happened, Miss Simone?, porque Nina Simone es una de mis cantantes favoritas.

El documental comienza con la cita de Maya Angelou: Señorita Simone, usted es idolatrada, incluso amada, por millones. ¿Pero qué pasó, señorita Simone?” En la primera escena, Nina hace una reverencia al público, se sienta al piano, se toma su tiempo y luego comienza a hablar, fue en un concierto en 1968.

El documental que dura 1:42 minutos está dirigido por Liz Garbus y fue producido por Amy Hobby en 2015. Describe la vida y la carrera de Nina a través de las voces de familiares, activistas, músicos, amigos, etc., acompañados de su propia composición musical, una serie de entrevistas hechas a ella misma e imágenes de conciertos.

Nina Simone fue una de las artistas femeninas más destacadas del siglo XX del blues, jazz, soul, gospel y otros géneros. Nació en Tryon, Carolina del Norte, Estados Unidos de América, el 21 de febrero de 1933, bajo el nombre de Eunice Kathleen Waymon. Ella era la sexta de ocho hijos. Su madre, Mary Kate Waymon, era un ministra metodista, y su padre era John Devan Waymon, un predicador. Murió en su casa ubicada en el sur de Francia el 21 de abril de 2003.

5 cosas que debes saber sobre Nina

1- A los tres o cuatro años comenzó a tocar el piano en la iglesia, no cantaba. Un día en su actuación, fue escuchada por la señorita Mazzanovich, quien se interesó en darle clases de piano, donde aprendió música clásica de grandes y famosos músicos como Johann Sebastian Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven y Schubert.

2- Después de estudiar música en Julliard en la ciudad de Nueva York, a los 19 años se postuló al prestigioso Instituto Curtis de Música en Filadelfia, pero su admisión fue denegada. Le tomó varios años admitir que el racismo era la razón. En 2003, pocos días antes de su muerte, el mismo Instituto le otorgó un título honorífico.

3- En 1961, Nina se casó con Andy Stroud, quien se convirtió en su manager y padre de su hija, Lisa Simone Kelly. Desafortunadamente, él abusó de ella física y psicológicamente.

4- Era una activista de los derechos civiles y amiga de Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Correta Scott King y otros. Compuso muchas canciones para la causa.

Ella dijo: «¿Cómo puedes ser artista y no reflejar tu tiempo»? Con la canción Mississippi Goddam, abordó la desigualdad racial por primera vez después del asesinato de Medgar Evers y el bombardeo de la Iglesia Bautista en Birmingham, Alabama, que mató a cuatro chicas negras.

El 15 de marzo de 1965, habló y actuó en la marcha de Selma a Montgomery.

Una de las partes del documental que me dio escalofríos fue cuando cantó To be Young, Gifted and Black, en la Universidad de Massachusetts, Amherst. El título de esta canción es de una obra que su amiga, Lorraine Hansberry, estaba escribiendo antes de su muerte.

5- Nina se volvió violenta en su carrera y vida personal, comportamiento que se entendió cuando le diagnosticaron un trastorno bipolar. Lisa (su hija) sufrió severamente las consecuencias de esto hasta el punto de que adquirió comportamientos suicidas, por lo que tuvo que regresar a Nueva York para vivir con su padre.

5 cosas que aprender de Nina

1- Su infancia estuvo marcada por las leyes de “Jim Crow. Durante uno de sus recitales clásicos cuando era niña, se negó a tocar porque sus padres, que estaban sentados en los asientos delanteros, se vieron obligados a moverse hacia la parte de atrás del pasillo para cedérselos a los blancos. Ella insistió hasta que sus padres fueron reubicados.

2- Aunque era famosa, no guardó silencio para denunciar y describir su círculo de violencia de género.

3- Estaba orgullosa de su identidad negra, que describe en muchas de sus letras. El objetivo de estas canciones era dar forma a las mentes de las personas para no avergonzarse de sus raíces.

4- Desde la primera hasta la última toma del documental, Nina Simone fue una reina de la moda. Ella siempre estaba vestida con ropa colorida, maquillaje, zapatos, bolsos, sombreros, etc.

5-Todos necesitamos soltarnos y ser libres. Nina lo hizo abandonando su carrera y su familia cuando se mudó a Liberia, África. Recibió muchas críticas, pero respondió que era el momento más feliz de su vida. En una entrevista, ella dijo: A mí la libertad no me da miedo”.

Cada vez que veo sus conciertos, me sorprende ver cómo actúa. Ella era muy atractiva con su audiencia, carismática, disfrutaba estar en el escenario, sus movimientos corporales y su pasión mientras cantaba lo decían todo.

Una de mis canciones favoritas de Nina es Feeling good de su álbum I Put a Spell on You (1965):

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel
River running free, you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good.

Así que no te quedes callada, canta tu canción en voz alta y orgullosa, como lo hizo Nina, pero también añade tu parte.

Things to know and learn from Nina Simone

During this time of confinement, I read an article on Afroféminas that recommended to watch five documentaries about black females. I included it on my to-do list. The first one I watched was What happened Miss Simone?, because Nina Simone is one my of favourite female singers.

The documentary starts with Maya Angelou’s quotation: “Miss Simone you are idolized even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone?” In the first scene, Nina’s bows to the public, she sits at the piano, takes her time, and then starts to talk. This was at a concert in 1968.

The documentary that lasts 1:42 minutes is directed by Liz Garbus and produced by Amy Hobby in 2015. It describes Nina’s life and career through the voices of family members, activists, musicians, friends, etc. accompanied by her own music composition, an interviews done to her, and concerts.

Nina Simone was one of the outstanding female artists from the twentieth century of Blues, Jazz, Soul, Gospel, and other genres. She was born in Tryon, North Carolina, United States of America, on February 21st, 1933, under the name of Eunice Kathleen Waymon. She was the sixth of eight children. Her mother, Mary Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister, and her dad was John Devan Waymon, a handyman and preacher. She died at her home located in the South of France on April 21st, 2003.

American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist Nina Simone (1933 – 2003), UK, 14th September 1979. (Photo by Mike Lawn/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

5 things to know about Nina

1- At age three or four she started to play the piano at church, she didn’t sing. One day at her performance, she was heard by Miss Mazzanovich, who got interested in giving her piano classes, where she learned classical music of great and famous musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert.

2- After studying music at Julliard in New York City, at age 19 she applied to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, but her admission was denied. It took her several years to admit that racism was the reason. In 2003, just days before her death, the same Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

3- In 1961, Nina got married to Andy Stroud, who became her manager and father to her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly. Unfortunately, he abused her physically and psychologically.

4- She was a civil rights activist and friend of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Correta Scott King, and others. She composed a lot of songs for the cause.

She said: ” How can you be an artist and not reflect the time”? With the song Mississippi Goddam, she addressed racial inequality for the first time after the killing of Medgar Evers and the bombing of the Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four black girls.

On the 15 of March, 1965, she spoke and performed at the march from Selma to Montgomery.

One of the parts in the documentary I got chill skin was when she sang To be Young, Gifted and Black, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The title of this song is from a play her friend, Lorraine Hansberry, was writing before her death. 

5- Nina became violent in her career and personal life,  behaviour which was understood when she was diagnosed to be a bipolar disorder. Lisa (her daughter) severely suffered the  consequences of  this to the point that it became suicidal making it necessary for her, to move back to New York to live with her father. 

5 things to learn from Nina

1- Her childhood was marked by the “Jim Crow laws. During the debut of one of her classical recital concerts, she refused to play because her parents who were sitting in the front seat were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. She played until her parents were relocated.

2- Even though she was famous, she was not silent to denounce and describe her circle of gender violence.

3- She was proud of her black identity, which she describes in many of her lyrics. The objective of these songs was to shape people’s minds not to be ashamed of their roots.

4- From the first to the last shot in the documentary, Nina Simone was a queen of fashion. She was always put together with colourful clothes, makeup, shoes, bags, hats etc.

5-We all need to let go and be free. Nina did it by abandoning her career and family when she moved to Liberia, Africa. She got a lot of criticisms, but she responded that it was the happiest moment of her life. In an interview, she said: ” Freedom for me is no fear”.

Anytime I watch her concerts, I am amazed to see the way she performs. She was very engaging with her audience, charismatic, she enjoyed being on stage, her body movements and passion while singing said it all. 

One of my favourite songs by Nina is Feeling good from her album I Put a Spell on You (1965):

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel

River running free, you know how I feel

Blossom on the tree, you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life

For me

And I’m feeling good.

So don’t be silent, sing your song loud and proud, just as Nina did, but also add your part.