Nina Simone was
an African-American singer and activist during the Civil Rights movement. She
became one of the most important voices in American history. She was not afraid
of expressing how she really felt to her audience. Her song “Mississippi
Goddam” shows how much Nina Simone was not afraid to use her status to sing
about political issues.
Goddam” is Nina Simone’s response to the murder of civil rights activist Medgar
Evers and the bombing of the 16th street Baptist church in
Birmingham, Alabama. The song was then first sung in Carnegie Hall in 1964, in
which majority of the audience was white audience.
When Simone began
to sing the song she told the audience that the song was “a show tune, but the
show hasn’t been written yet.” The song then begins with Simone singing “Alabama
has got me so upset, Tennessee has made me lose the rest. And everybody knows
about Mississippi Goddam.” As Simone is singing, she is playing a rather happy
piano instrumental. Even though the song has a rather joyful tune, there is
nothing happy in Simone’s lyrics.
I believe that
the main issue in this song is about the injustice and discrimination
African-American people were facing with at the time. When Simone performed
“Mississippi Goddam” in 1964, it was during the height of the Civil Rights
movement. I believe Simone wanted to address this issue because she felt that
people were dismissing the fact that people were being killed, all because they
were fighting for equality.
When I first
heard the song, I was amazed at how Nina Simone was courageous enough to sing
about the injustices going on in this country. Most people during this time
were afraid of saying something because of the backlash. This song only
increased my awareness on this issue. I was aware of the Civil Right movement
and how African-Americans were treated during this time, but I never knew that
it went to this extent. I also liked how even though that this song was written
in 1964, that people today can relate to Simone’s frustration because discrimination
is still happening today.
I believe that
the issue on injustice and discrimination could be a topic for the research
paper. I say this because discrimination is still happening even on our society
today. Most people in our society have never experienced discrimination, so I
think it is important that people learn about the negative effects of discrimination.