Nina Simone

There’s no excuse for the young people not knowing who the heroes and heroines are or were.
Nina Simone

When I was studying… there weren’t any black concert pianists. My choices were intuitive, and I had the technique to do it. People have heard my music and heard the classic in it, so I have become known as a black classical pianist.
Nina Simone

I don’t like rap music at all. I don’t think it’s music. It’s just a beat and rapping.
Nina Simone

I think if I were over there in America, protest music would be more important. But I’m not going.
Nina Simone

I’m a real rebel with a cause.
Nina Simone

I think the rich are too rich and the poor are too poor. I don’t think the black people are going to rise at all; I think most of them are going to die.
Nina Simone

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.
Nina Simone

Greed has driven the world crazy. And I think I’m lucky that I have a place over here that I can call home.
Nina Simone

From the beginning, it has been a no-no for a black man to touch a white woman.
Nina Simone

Slavery has never been abolished from America’s way of thinking.
Nina Simone

Desegregation is a joke.
Nina Simone

I would like a man now who is rich, and who can give me a boat – a sailboat. I want to own it and let him pay for it. My first love is the sea and water, not music. Music is second.
Nina Simone

I try to swim every damn day I can, and I’ve learned to scuba dive and snorkel.
Nina Simone

This may be a dream, but I’ll say it anyway: I was supposed to be married last year, and I bought a gown. When I meet Nelson Mandela, I shall put on this gown and have the train of it removed and put aside, and kiss the ground that he walks on and then kiss his feet.
Nina Simone

Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music.
Nina Simone

To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that’s not what I play. I play black classical music.
Nina Simone

Once I understood Bach’s music, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music, and it was that teacher who introduced me to his world.
Nina Simone

The worst thing about that kind of prejudice… is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough.
Nina Simone

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.
Nina Simone

I flirt all the time. I like men! I don’t think we can do without them.
Nina Simone

I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. I mean really, no fear!
Nina Simone

My daughter is in more competition with me. I never wanted to be bigger than my mother or to challenge her.
Nina Simone

The protest years were over, not just for me but for a whole generation, and in music, just like in politics, many of the greatest talents were dead or in exile, and their place was filled by third-rate imitators.
Nina Simone

I think that the artists who don’t get involved in preaching messages probably are happier – but you see, I have to live with Nina, and that is very difficult.
Nina Simone

You feel the shame, humiliation, and anger at being just another victim of prejudice, and at the same time, there’s the nagging worry that maybe… you’re just no good.
Nina Simone

I’m not a blues singer, I’m a diva.
Nina Simone

To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the whole world. Black people. And I mean that in every sense.
Nina Simone

All the time, there was the weight of my community’s expectations on my shoulders.
Nina Simone

I wasn’t a jazz player, but a classical musician, and I improvised arrangements of popular songs using classical motifs.
Nina Simone

It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.
Nina Simone

What I was interested in was conveying an emotional message, which means using everything you’ve got inside you sometimes to barely make a note, or if you have to strain to sing, you sing.
Nina Simone

Sometimes I sound like gravel, and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream.
Nina Simone

At this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved.
Nina Simone

I want to shake people up so bad, that when they leave a nightclub where I’ve performed, I just want them to be to pieces.
Nina Simone

I didn’t get interested in music. It was a gift from God.
Nina Simone

When I’m on that stage, I assume honor. I assume compensation, and I should.
Nina Simone

Did you know that the human voice is the only pure instrument? That it has notes no other instrument has? It’s like being between the keys of a piano. The notes are there, you can sing them, but they can’t be found on any instrument. That’s like me. I live in between this. I live in both worlds, the black and white world.
Nina Simone

You get racism crossing the street; it’s in the very fabric of American society.
Nina Simone

As a political weapon, it has helped me for 30 years defend the rights of American blacks and third-world people all over the world, to defend them with protest songs. To move the audience to make them conscious of what has been done to my people around the world.
Nina Simone

I have to be composed; I have to be poised. I have to remember what my first piano teacher told me: ‘You do not touch that piano until you are ready and until they are ready to listen to you.
Nina Simone

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