Black Hipster Profile: Nina Simone


Oh, I know shouts of blasphemy and heresy are about to rock the peanut gallery but that’s ok, I don’t like none of you fools no way. Nina Simone. Most would never deign to associate this regal pillar of jazz legend with the motley crew of negroes who listen to indie music often termed blipsters (Hot damn, that never gets old! I’m naming my daughter Blipster). But another glance – a glance that agrees with everything I say – will reveal that she is the hipster standard; the one all us fools should strive to be like.

Born Eunice Wayman in Nawth Ca’lina, Nina was a child piano prodigy and studied at Julliard and after performing in nightclubs hit stardom with the classic, “I Loves You Porgy” (the film version which starred Ms. Dorothy Dandridge who I’ll obsess about later). She released a bajillion albums like proper singers of the time did, and later fled the US (because it was bullshit) for Barbados, Liberia and France (because they were less bullshit). She had an affair with Caribbean prime minister Errol Barrow and was friends with Miriam Makeba.


Most importantly though, she was baaaaaad. Oh she was a bad bitch. She wasn’t kowtowing, shakin’ her ass for the camera. If she didn’t like you she would TELL YOU! Nina had no problem cussin’ out a bunch of rabid snaggletoothed European fans at a concert slyly noting, “You don’t love me.” And she was right. She shot her son and her manager when they got on her nerves and chile, you could be George Bush or George Jetson, she would tell you your dick smelled like lunchmeat if did. She was really keepin’ it real; like for real for real.

She is the standard for a black hipster: proud, sick of America, aware of her negroness and not apologizing for it and looking fierce as all outdoors for 50+ years. When four girls were bombed, she made Mississippi Goddamn and Four Black Women goes on about the color issues that we still have in the black community. We basically should be saying shit when shit goes wrong and make people uncomfortable when we can.  Otherwise, what’s the point of being the only black kid at the rock show* (besides, you know, rocking)?


* Not to suggest rock music isn’t black music but you know it is the paleskins that populate the shows now.

“You may dig on the Rolling Stones but they could never ever rock like Nina Simone…”


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