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Nina's voice  sometimes changes from dark and raw to soft and sweet -- pauses,

shouts, repeats, whispers and moans.  She used her voice with its remarkable

timbre and her careful piano playing as means to achieve her artistic aim 

 

 

Nina Simone CDs

Forever Young, Gifted & Black: Songs of Freedom and Spirit (2006)  /   Anthology  (2003)   Nina: The Essential Nina Simone  (2000, 2003) 

 The Very Best Of Nina Simone, 1967-1972 : Sugar In My Bowl (1998)  / The Blues (1968, 1991) / Compact Jazz: Nina Simone (1989-1991)

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Nina Simone

A Bio- Chronology

 

Nina Simone (1933-2003) -- A protest singer; a jazz singer; a pianist; an arranger and a composer, Nina Simone is a great international artist  who defies easy classification. She sang jazz, rock, pop, and folk music. In fact, we can find her biography in jazz, rock, pop, black and soul literature. Her style and her hits provided many singers and groups with material for hits of their own.

Nina's voice  sometimes changes from dark and raw to soft and sweet -- pauses, shouts, repeats, whispers and moans.  She used her voice with its remarkable timbre and her careful piano playing as means to achieve her artistic aim, expressing alternately love, hate, sorrow, joy, loneliness - the whole range of human emotions -- through music, in a direct way. At times piano, voice, and gestures seem to be separate elements, then, at once, they meet. Her audience became captivated by her spell. Nina Simone was a unique artist, the High Priestess of Soul.

Ain't Got No...I've Got Life (video) / Four Women (video) / / Feelings (video)

Harlem Festival, Part 2 (video)  / Harlem Festival, Part 3  (video) / Harlem festival, Part 4 (video)

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1933 (21 February) -- Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, USA., the sixth of eight children, four boys and four girls. 

1939 -- At age of six, in 1939, a benefactor paid for her first piano lessons.

1943 -- At age of ten, she gave her first piano recital at the town library.

1950 --Eunice left North Carolina  to continue her musical education at the Juilliard School of Music in New York 

 

1954 --  Took a job as a singer-pianist in the Midtown Bar and Grill in Atlantic City, adopting the stage name of Nina Simone. "Nina" from a pet name  and "Simone" (from the French actress Simone Signoret) for its dignified sound. It was at Midtown Bar, where Nina Simone sang, played and improvised, that her career took off. 

 

1957 -- Recognized as a talented pianist, she was given a recording session with Bethlehem Records in this session she records 14 tracks.

 

1958  -- Simone's first album Jazz (also know as Little Girl Blue) as played in an Exclusive Side Street Club (11 tracks), published in and by then , was a great success, first in Philadelphia and New York and then in the whole US. 

 

1959 --The single released from Jazz  (featuring "I Loves You Porgy" and "He Needs Me") became a national rhythm & blues (placing 13th) hit in the summer of , selling over a million copies. Thanks to the success of her first recordings, in 1959 Simone signed with Colpix (Columbia Pictures Records) a collaboration that lasted until 1964. Nina recorded 10 albums while signed to Colpix: six studio and four "live" albums.

 

1961 -- Records the traditional song "The House of the Rising Sun." Nina marries Andy Stroud, a NewYork detective 

 

1962 -- Daughter Lisa Celeste Stroud is born.

1963 (September)--  wrote "Mississippi Goddam!"  Her first song of protest, written after the murders of Medgar Evers in Mississippi (June 1963) and four black schoolchildren in Alabama (September 1963).

 

1964 --  Began association with Philips, a Mercury subsidiary, collaboration lasted for three years during     which Nina recorded seven albums. One of the first songs recorded during the Philips period is "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", from then associated with her name. Nina publish "I Put a Spell on You," a 1956 song by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

1966 --  Switches to RCA (she will stay until 1974), a deal negotiated by her husband who acts as her manager and to whom some compositions are credited. While at RCA Nina records nine albums  and some of her most popular songs, including "To Be Young, Gifted And Black," inspired by a  play of the same name by Lorraine Hansberry, a friend of Nina. Wrote "Four Women," a bitter lament of four black women whose circumstances and outlook are related to subtle gradations in skin color, the song was banned on Philadelphia and new York radio stations because "it was insulting to black people…"

 

1969 -- Embittered by racism, Nina renounced her homeland and becomes a wanderer, roaming the world. Lives in Liberia, in Barbados, Switzerland, France, Trinidad, the Netherlands, Belgium and UK at various times.

 

1970  -- Nina and Stroud split up, and Nina attempt to manage herself and work with her brother Sam Waymon.

 

1974  --  Leaves RCA.

1978  --  Arrested, and soon released, for withholding taxes in 1971-73 in protest at her government's undeclared war in Vietnam. Make the LP Baltimore for the CTI label 

 

1982  -- Fodder on my Wings for a Swiss label released, based on her self-imposed "exile" from the USA. Nina wrote, adapted and arranged the songs, played piano and harpsichord and sang in English and French. 

 

1985  --  Records Nina's Back and Live and Kickin in US.

1987 -- European success with "My Baby Just Cares For Me" brought Nina back into the public eye.

 

1989 --  Contributed to Pete Townsend's musical "The Iron Man."

 

1990 --  Recorded with Maria Bethania; 

 

1991 -- Recorded with Miriam Makeba. 

 

1992  -- her music featured in movie Point Of No Return, with the lead character using Nina as inspiration. Records Let It Be Me at The Vine Street Bar & Grill in Hollywood for Verve Records.

            

Her autobiography I Put a Spell On You is published by Pantheon Books.  It was translated into French ("Ne Me Quittez Pas"), German ("Meine Schwarze Seele") and Dutch ("I Put A Spell On You, - Herinneringen").

 

1993 --  Moves to the southern French town of Bouc-Bel- Air near Aix-en-Provence. A new studio album was released, A Single Woman,  includes several Rod McKuen songs, and Nina's "Marry Me," her version of the French standard "Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux" and a very    moving "Papa, Can You Hear Me?"

 

1996 --  A number of Nina's songs used in films.

 

1997  -- Sang "Every Time I Feel The Spirit" at the Barbican Theatre in London e as a tribute to singer and actor Paul Robeson. More spirituals and "blood songs" would follow: "Reached Down And Got My Soul,"  "The Blood Done Change My Name." and "When I See The Blood."  Highlight of the Nice Jazz Festival in France.

 

1998 -- "Ain't Got No / I Got Life" was a big hit  in The Netherlands, just as it had been there 30 years before.

 

             24 July, Nina was a special guest at Nelson Mandela's 80th Birthday Party. 

           

             Highlight of Thessalonica Jazz Festival in Greece

 

1999 (7 October) -- Received a Lifetime Achievement in Music Award in Dublin. At the Guinness Blues Festival in Dublin, Ireland her daughter, Lisa Celeste sang a few duets with her mother.

 

2000  -- An international tour. Received Honorary Citizenship to Atlanta (May 26), the Diamond Award for Excellence in Music from the Association of African American Music in Philadelphia (June 9) and  the Honorable Musketeer Award from the Compagnie des Mousquetaires d'Armagnac in France (August 7).

 

2003 (21 April) -- Died  in Carry-le-Rouet, France.

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Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), better known by her stage name Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Born the sixth child of a preacher's family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist. Her musical path changed direction after she was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. Simone was later told by someone working at Curtis that she was rejected because she was black. When she began playing in a small club in Philadelphia to fund her continuing musical education and become a classical pianist she was required to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendering of "I Loves You Porgy" was a hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958—when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue—and 1974. Her musical style arose from a fusion of gospel and pop songs with classical music, in particular with influences from her first inspiration, Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied with her expressive jazz-like singing in her characteristic contralto. for equal rights in the US.—wikipedia

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Nina SimoneKalamu ya SalaamNina is not her name. Nina is our name. Nina is how we call ourselves remade into an uprising. Eunice Waymon started out life as a precocious child prodigy—amazingly gifted at piano. She went to church, sang, prayed and absorbed all the sweat of the saints: the sisters dropping like flies and rising like angels all around her. Big bosoms clad in white. Tambourine-playing, cotton-chopping, tobacco-picking, corn-shucking, floor-mopping, child-birthing, man-loving hands. The spray of sweat and other body secretions falling on young Eunice's face informing her music for decades to come with the fluid fire of quintessential Black musicking.

But there was also the conservatory and the proper way to approach the high art of music. The curve of the hands above the keyboard. The ear to hear and mind to understand the modulations in and out of various keys. The notes contained in each chord. She aspired to be a concert pianist. But at root she was an obeah woman. With voice and drum she could hold court for days, dazzle multitudes, regale us with the splendor, enrapture us with the serpentine serendipity of her black magic womanistness articulated in improvised, conjured incantations. "My daughter said, mama, sometimes I don't understand these people. I told her I don't understand them either but I'm born of them, and I like it." Nina picked up Moses' writhing rod, swallowed it and now hisses back into us the stories of our souls on fire. Hear me now, on fire.

My first memory of Nina is twofold. One that music critics considered her ugly and openly said so. And two that she was on the Tonight show back in the late fifties/very early sixties singing "I Love You Porgy." Both those memories go hand in hand. Both those memories speak volumes about what a Black woman could and could not do in the Eisenhower era. They called her ugly because she was Black. Literally. Dark skinned. In the late fifties, somewhat like it is now, only a tad more adamant, couldn't no dark skinned woman be pretty. In commercial terms, the darker the uglier. Nina was dark.

My first memory of Nina is twofold. One that music critics considered her ugly and openly said so. And two that she was on the Tonight show back in the late fifties/very early sixties singing "I Love You Porgy." Both those memories go hand in hand. Both those memories speak volumes about what a Black woman could and could not do in the Eisenhower era. They called her ugly because she was Black. Literally. Dark skinned. In the late fifties, somewhat like it is now, only a tad more adamant, couldn't no dark skinned woman be pretty. In commercial terms, the darker the uglier. Nina was dark.

She sang "Porgy" darkly. Made you know that the love she sang about was the real sound of music, and that Julie Andrews didn't have a clue. Was something so deep, so strong that I as a teenager intuitively realized that Nina's sound was both way over my head and was also the water within which my soul was baptized. Which is probably why I liked it, and is certainly why my then just developing moth wings sent me shooting toward the brilliant flashes of diamond bright lightening which shot sparking cobalt blue and ferrous red out of the black well of her mouth. This was some elemental love. Some of the kind of stuff I would first read about in James Baldwin's Another Country, a book that America is still not ready to understand. Love like that is what Nina's sound is.

Her piano was always percussive. It hit you. Moved you. Socked it to you. She could hit one note and make you sit up straight. Do things to your anatomy. That was Nina. Made a lot of men wish their name was Porgy. That's the way she sang that song. I wanted to grow up and be Porgy. Really. Wanted to grow up and get loved like Nina was loving Porgy. For a long time, I never knew nobody else sang that song. Who else could possibly invest that song with such a serious message, serious meaning? Porgy was Nina's man. Nina's song. She loved him. And he was well loved.

In my youth, I didn't think she was ugly. Nor did I didn't think she was beautiful. She just looked like a dark Black woman. With a bunch of make-up on in the early days. Later, I realized what she really looked like was an African mask. Something to shock you into a realization that no matter how hard you tried, you would never ever master white beauty because that is not what you were. Fundamental Blackness. Severe lines. Severe, you hear me. I mean, you hear Nina. Dogonic, chiseled features. Bold eyes. Ancient eyes. Done seen and survived slavery eyes. A countenance so serious that only hand carved mahogany or ebony could convey the features. . . .—wordup

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest.

Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America.

This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.”

Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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Ancient, Ancient: Short Fiction

By Kiini Ibura Salaam

Ancient, Ancient collects the short fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam, of which acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, ''Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.'' Indeed, Ms. Salaam's stories are so permeated with sensuality that in her introduction to Ancient, Ancient, Nisi Shawl, author of the award-winning Filter House, writes, ''Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter, the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf's Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini's body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.''

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Karma’s Footsteps

By Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Somebody has to tell the truth sometime, whatever that truth may be. In this, her début full collection, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie offers up a body of work that bears its scars proudly, firm in the knowledge that each is evidence of a wound survived. These are songs of life in all its violent difficulty and beauty; songs of fury, songs of love. 'Karma's Footsteps' brims with things that must be said and turns the volume up, loud, giving silence its last rites. "Ekere Tallie's new work 'Karma's Footsteps' is as fierce with fight songs as it is with love songs. Searing with truths from the modern day world she is unafraid of the twelve foot waves that such honesties always manifest. A poet who "refuses to tiptoe" she enters and exits the page sometimes with short concise imagery, sometimes in the arms of delicate memoir. Her words pull the forgotten among us back into the lightning of our eyes.—Nikky Finney /  Ekere Tallie Table

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 19 August 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: Nina Simone: The Emotional Depths of the Spirit World  Nina Remembers   Remembering Nina  Four Women  To be Young, Gifted and Black  

Well Done, Miss Simone