I knew Sunday was going to be a good day the moment I woke up and decided to blast Nina Simone’s Four Women. I ended up listening to my Nina Simone playlist as I drank my coffee and got ready to jump on my bike and to get some miles in.
Nina Simone is a legend that has transcended generations of women. She used her music to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love. When you listen to her music, you know why she was called the High Priestess of Soul.
As I listened to her music, I thought about what it means today to be a black woman in America. The intersection of race, feminism, and politics in what many are calling a modern day civil rights movement. Others refer to it as intersectionality in feminism. So many feelings and so many issues happening today, yet when we listen to music from the 30s and 40s we can certainly still relate. That being said, here are four Nina Simone songs that will give you life.
Four Women because on any given day, we can identify with either one of them. Aunt Sarah, Sweet Thing, Peaches, Saffronia. This songs makes me want to smoke a long skinny cigar in a dark cocktail lounge somewhere in New Orleans back in 1942.
“My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
my mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me
My name is SWEET THING
My name is Sweet Thing”
I Put a Spell on You
Don’t over think this one. This song is the reason we call Nina the High Priestess of Soul. Play this song before or even after giving your man some of that good lovin.’
I put a spell on you
Because you’re mineYou’d better stop the things you do
I tell you, I ain’t lyin’
I ain’t lyin’
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
We all have our good days where we shine bright like a diamond. We put on our pink dress and our pearls and have the patience of a saint. We make our mamas proud. But then there are days you may wake up
ready to cut a bitch mad for no explainable reason. Black is the color of choice, your hair is pulled all the way back so tight your eyes get an exotic slant. You pray to Sweet Baby Jesus that you don’t go off on anyone. Then somebody has to act the fool and you’re done. Play this song and then ask forgiveness later because Nina reminds us we’re all human and it’s okay to feel a little mad sometimes.
Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I feel real bad.
To Be Young, Gifted, & Black
Because we are living a modern day civil rights movement and Black Lives Matter. And because it’s my job as a parent to teach my children their culture and heritage. That includes everything from black history to watching iconic movies together. This is a good song to play in the mornings or whenever. I remind my children often they are blessed with so much culture and beautiful brown skin. They are smart, beautiful, gifted. They have an opportunity to be a change and witness change.
Young, gifted and black
We must begin to tell our young
There’s a world waiting for you
This is a quest that’s just begun
What is your favorite Nina Simone song? Leave it in comments below!