16 March 2016

Nina Simone Biopic: Yes Nina...The Struggle Continues!

Photo Credit ~ Getty: Nina On Stage 1968
This is one of my favorite images of Nina Simone, a talented truth-teller, revolutionary, cultural critic and musical genius.  She was at the height of her career, I believe, when this was taken.  During my early 20's and somewhat later, her voice and music were the backdrop of  the human/civil rights movement in all its varied and memorable experiences.  She sacrificed her career and mental health at times  for her activism in telling her story and that of her people's struggle within the national and global arenas.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer for 'The Atlantic' has again exhibited his exceptional brand of truth telling when discussing the Nina Simone biopic, in an article titled Nina Simone's Face.

Excerpt'There is something deeply shameful in the fact that even today a young Nina Simone would have a hard time being cast in her own biopic.'

Part of the controversy surrounding this biopic is the rather tiresome and long standing cultural infighting regarding colorism, not only in America but around the world.  Mr. Coates doesn't sugarcoat how dysfunctional this has been in all societal  arenas, e.g., entertainment, education, economics, familial dynamics and the list goes on.  Critical to Ms. Simone's persona is the acceptance of different types of beauty which includes that of black women and not discarding but embracing the deep chocolate skin colors and prominent nose/lip features of "daughters of the dust".

I'd like for readers to view his essay on Ms. Simone for it can be thought provoking for some and take others to expansive and enlightening levels on what we define as beauty without the need for prosthetic features and skin dyes.  We must be free of this ongoing dilemma that...yes...we've chosen for ourselves.

A video of Nina singing "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" speaks to more than physical shackles. 

Director J. Lieberman of "The Amazing Nina Simone" {2015} cites "Nina" {2016} as an 'ugly and inaccurate' portrayal of her.

Addendum Update ~ Remembrance April 21, 2016:

February 21, 1933 ~ April 21, 2003

Photo Credit:  Family Submission


mary burrell said...

It's still hard being a dark skinned woman with prominent African features and being considered attractive by society.

Carolyn Moon said...

Sister Burrell, I don't deny that issue for in my family, we ranged from dark to very light hues, however, there was love and acceptance as shown among other families in our neighborhood. Having said that, I don't deny that this affliction is also seen among blood relatives. The issue for me is the acceptance and love for ALL of whom we are. This is also key for multi-racial folks who maintain that they are more than black or want to be seen for their specific realities. You hear the proverbial "I hate when people call me black" {Hey Tiger} Why hate it? That is the part of you that is essential to your being as well. It starts with people of color honoring our blackness and not running away from it. Until the world or society can accept that; we must be vigilant about preserving that identity without the excuses many in the entertainment industry & other areas use to cave in and make choices that perpetuate limiting all of who we are.

I don't mean to go on but as a woman in my late 60's; I've grown quite weary of this distraction and affliction.

There was a highly spiritual woman and teacher whom during my activist years stated in essence that she always heard the analogy of black folks in this country being an assorted flower bed of different colors which shows the true harmony of our existence.

I see harmony, Sis Burrell and we should rage against those who seek to divide us and one of the many ways to do so is how we rear our children. One that(James & I} used very effectively during the rearing of our three daughters. Peace to you...

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