Born: Eunice Kathleen Waymon on February 21, 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina
Parents: Mary Kate Waymon, a Methodist minister and a housemaid and John Divine Waymon, a handyman and minister
Siblings: 7 ( Nina was sixth out of the Waymons’ eight children)
Spouse(s): Donn Ross (married 1958; divorced 1959) and Andy Stroud (married 1961; divorced 1970)
Children: Lisa Celeste, born 1961 (daughter from Andy Stroud, a former police detective and recording agent)
Education: Allen High School For Girls, Asheville North Carolina (valadictorian; graduated at top of her class); Julliard School of Music
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist
Accomplishments, Achievements, and Contributions: She was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, an icon of American music. She was the consummate musical storyteller, a griot as she would come to learn, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works. She earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment. She was who the world would come to know as Nina Simone (ninasimone.com).Simone began recording her music in the late 1950s under the Bethlehem label, releasing her first full album in 1958, which featured “Plain Gold Ring” and “Little Girl Blue.” It also included her one and only top 40 pop hit with her version of “I Loves You Porgy” from the George Gershwin musical Porgy and Bess. In many ways, Simone’s music defied standard definitions. Her classical training showed through, no matter what genre of song she played, and she drew from many sources including gospel, pop and folk. By the mid-1960s, Simone became known as the voice of the civil rights movement. She wrote “Mississippi Goddam” in response to the 1963 assassination of Medgar Evers and the Birmingham church bombing that killed four young African-American girls. After the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Simone penned “Why (The King of Love Is Dead).” She also wrote “Young, Gifted and Black,” borrowing the title of a play by Hansberry, which became a popular anthem at the time (bio.com).
Awards/Honors: From Wikipedia
Simone was the recipient of a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2000 for her interpretation of “I Loves You, Porgy.” She has also received fifteen Grammy Award nominations. OnHuman Kindness Day 1974 in Washington, D.C., more than 10,000 people paid tribute to Simone. Simone received two honorary degrees in music and humanities, from theUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst and Malcolm X College. She preferred to be called “Dr. Nina Simone” after these honors were bestowed upon her.
In 2002, the city of Nijmegen, Netherlands, named a street after her, the Nina Simone straat; she had lived in Nijmegen between 1988 and 1990. On August 29, 2005, the city of Nijmegen, concert hall De Vereeniging, and more than fifty artists (amongst whom were Frank Boeijen, Rood Adeo, and Fay Claassen) honoured Simone with the tribute concert Greetings From Nijmegen.
Some Quotes by or About Nina Simone:
Death: April 21, 2003 after several years of battling breast cancer at her home in Carry-Le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhone, Southern France
I Salute this AMAZING HER-story making sista!