Sunday, May 07, 2006

Nina Simone, Goddamn!

      The current issue of Fader (a magazine once so dope) has Nina Simone on the cover and a very nice, lengthy spread on her that’s comprised of interviews with her daughter, ex-husband and a slew of young artists whose work she influenced. Flipping through the articles made me ponder all over again (as if I’m ever not) the correlation between “madness” and true consciousness, “madness” and true artistry. The struggle of the deeply gifted and sensitive, whose skins must be thin enough to be sensor and thick enough to withstand assault. The interview with Andy Stroud, her ex-husband, is my favorite (right now) because in his dissecting of Nina’s personality, he captures a poignant dichotomy in which I think many “revolutionary” artists find themselves: The desire for mass acceptance (or at least recognition) and at least some of the trappings of success, even as you fight the power that be. I think all of that is bottled in this excerpt from Mr. Stroud’s interview:
      When she started writing protest songs, she would see Aretha and Nancy Wilson doing guest appearances and she would go into a frenzy, like, “Why ain’t I?!?” I said, “Nobody wants you! You can’t scream and holler about killing white people and think they’re going to have you as an entertainer.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice! I'ma have to pick up that issue of Fader. I peeped the cover and leafed through it real quick but didn't buy it.
I'm familiar with who Nina was but not extensively. But as an artist who's yet to "make it", her struggle with longing for mass recognition while trying not to sell out has always quietly been one of my own fears.