“I Am Not Nonviolent”: New Nina Simone Film Captures Singer and Activist’s Uncompromising Voice

ninaAs the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country and the the nation mourns the death of the nine worshipers killed at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, we look back at the life of one of the most important voices of the civil rights movement: the singer Nina Simone, known as the High Priestess of Soul. While Simone died in 2003, a new documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” sheds light on her music and politics. Her song “Mississippi Goddam” became an anthem of the civil rights movement. She wrote it in the wake of the assassination of Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four black children. We speak to the film’s director, Liz Garbus, and Al Schackman, Nina Simone’s guitarist and music director for over 40 years. Link to Democracy Now!

NINA SIMONE: [singing] Hound dogs on my trail
Schoolchildren sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think every day’s gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong there
I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Don’t tell me
I’ll tell you
Me and my people just about due
I’ve been there so I know
They keep on saying “Go slow!”

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