MUSIC & POP CULTURE
Woman of the Month
Since, Belladonna is a blog dedicated to empowering women, I highlight an influential woman every month from all walks of life in "Woman of the Month". In the past I have highlighted the work of: Maya Angelou, Nancy G. Brinker, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Alicia Keys, Larisa Latynia, Sylvia Lawry, Michelle Obama, and Virgina Woolf - just to name a few. This month I have decided to highlight the inspirational work of Eunice Kathleen Waymon better known as Nina Simone.
Nina Simone was an influential African-American pianist and singer who incorporated various genres into her music including classical, jazz, blues, folk, gospel, and pop. According to, Eric Wendell, "Nina Simone defied categorization by blending classical, jazz and popular music into an unconventional and highly personal idiom: over four decades, she galvanized audiences with albums and performances replete with deep passion and keen attention to emotion. Fiercely honest, Simone was admired for her eccentricity and individualism. She was known for her spirited personality on and off the stage, which included flirting with audience members and voicing her opinions about social topics of the time. The legacy of Simone's music and message can be heard not only in jazz but amongst the many pop artists who cite her influence, including Jeff Buckley, Alicia Keys and John Legend..."(Jazz.com)
Recently, Nina Simone's legacy has become even more of a hot topic in the media with various debates on the controversial depiction of Nina Simone in Nina - an unauthorized film written and directed by Cynthia Mort. Aaron Overfield, content manager of Ninasimone.com, weighs in on the debate with an open letter, stating that, "The most frustrating people are the ones who imply everyone should just shut up and 'wait and see' or 'leave them alone.' That kind of attitude and oppression is not in the spirit of Nina Simone whatsoever. Quite the opposite. Nina was vocal, defiant, a warrior, an activist. She would not have simply shut up and sat down. She would’ve shown up at the studio with a shotgun to speak with Ms. Mort and slapped the makeup off Zoe. So let’s get that straight first. We’re going to talk about this and those of us with strong, impassioned opinions are going to express them. We will not be silent simply because it annoys those who aren’t in agreement. Zoe’s complexion (the level of her 'blackness') has taken the forefront in the discussion. Her complexion as well as her phenotype/features. We’re going to have to address this since obviously it is dominating the outcry against this project, understandably so. However, I believe this issue is a byproduct of the much, much larger issue: the total gentrification of Nina Simone. This occurred at the inception of this film so it’s no wonder the script and casting have come to symbolize the total fictionalization of Nina as a person and as an artist."
Click here, to read more!
What do you think?
Who should be the next "Woman of the Month"?