As someone who didn’t grow up listening to Nina Simone, recently discovering her music and activism has grown to impact my adult life in ways unimaginable. I’ve found her courage and resiliency very valuable on my journey to self-love, expression, and another deepening step in my love for Black culture.
Once a timid girl afraid to speak up or defend herself, the legendary pioneer used her platform to advocate for oppressed Black people during the times of Jim Crow. In the Netflix documentary, ‘What Happened Miss Simone?’ her life was powerfully examined revealing her private battles with mental illness, domestic abuse, financial stress, motherhood, navigating the music industry, and self-discovery. After watching the film with wide eyes it became apparent to me that the same love and empowerment Nina Simone shared with the world was exactly what she needed during several moments in her life.
In her honor, here are 8 inspiring Nina Simone quotes that are still relevant today.
8 Inspiring Nina Simone Quotes
“I think the rich will eventually have to cave in too because the economic situation around the world is not gonna tolerate the United States being on top forever.”
“I had spent many years pursuing excellence because that is what classical music is all about… Now it was dedicated to freedom, and that was far more important.”
“You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”
“I am just one of the people who is sick of the social order, sick of the establishment, sick to my soul of it all. To me, America’s society is nothing but a cancer, and it must be exposed before it can be cured. I am not the doctor to cure it. All I can do is expose the sickness.”
“You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.”
“Life is short. People are not easy to know. They’re not easy to know, so if you don’t tell them how you feel, you’re not going to get anywhere, I feel.”
“I do not believe in mixing of the races. You can quote me. I don’t believe in it, and I never have. I’ve never changed. I’ve never changed my hair. I’ve never changed my color, I have always been proud of myself, and my fans are proud of me for remaining the way I’ve always been. I married a white man one time, but he was a creep.”