I love music and I love the way it changes the way you tell a story. One of the Art Professors here at, Guilford College, came up with a topic on how music has changed but yet still stay the same. Everyone in the room received a different objective through a little piece of paper. I got, “paint a picture without using paint.” I created a portrait of Nina Simone.
Years ago, way before I was born, Nina Simone came up with a song by the name of “Mississippi G–dam.” In this time period, for you to be a black woman and to even be in the music business was a huge deal! But, then she came out with this song and people started losing their minds! Speechless even. In the song, Nina was talking about all the problems that were happening from Alabama to Mississippi, to the mistreatment of black people.
Nina Simone used her success to promote the revolution and even marched from Selma to Montgomery with several well-known civil rights leaders including Martin L. King and Malcolm X. (She was also neighbors with X.) At the march she sang “Mississippi G–dam” where more people started to hear about it and caused her career to fall.
No one wanted to book her anymore because they all thought she was going to come out with her ideas on revolutionizing and resisting and that didn’t help because most of her audience were white people.
Her documentary: What happened Nina Simone? explains more in-depth on her life and her music career.
About the portrait:
Nina Simone is surrounded by brown circles with green blotches that represented black women in uniforms wanting black liberation:
and behind them are lyrics to one of Nina’s most controversial songs. Her shirt says “g–dam!” and is shaded in to represent her 1971 album, “Here Comes The Sun.” Above her head are fists in all shades fighting for one thing: Liberation.
Alternatives to paint used for portrait:
- oil pastels
- cigarette ash
- melted plastic