Why We Love Nina Simone: An Appreciation Post

It’s Black History Month and although there have been so many forces (inside and outside of the Black community) that have tried to derail what is the shortest month of the year given to Black Americans to celebrate our achievements, accomplishments, and contributions to this country; I’d like to take a beat to talk about one of my favorite contributors to the civil rights movement: Nina Simone

I don’t think a lot of people think of Nina Simone when it comes to the civil rights movement but she was there. Loud and proud and keeping everyone uplifted in song, she is the G.O.A.T. Simone was born in 1933, a time when Jim Crow laws were still intact and Black people were fighting for scraps. And yet she never stopped believing that things would get better.

Simone’s music is soulful and it has the ability to make you feel every emotion possible. When I listen to her music, I feel empowered and motivated. She is a prime example of someone who used their art as a form of activism. Simone once said, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” And that’s exactly what she did.

She recorded protest songs like “Mississippi Goddam” (a response to the murder of Medgar Evers) and “Old Jim Crow” during the civil rights movement. Simone was unafraid to use her voice and her music to call out the injustices that she saw in the world.

“To Be Young, Gifted and Black” is one of my favorite songs of hers because it speaks to the Black experience in America. The song is about embracing our African heritage and being proud of who we are.

It’s a song that gives me strength when I’m feeling down and reminds me that no matter what anyone says, I am beautiful and powerful.

While I can’t remember the first time I heard anything from Nina Simone or even the first song that I heard, I know for sure that I discovered her music sometime around 2016. I was working in the office at my union as a communications manager and while working in that position I had tons of time to discover new artists. I also remember that I discovered a playlist on Spotify that had remixed all of her major hits. I listened to that playlist for what felt like a small lifetime and then it hit me that I should probably open my ears up to some of her original music. I wasn’t quite ready for what I would hear considering that most of her music is very somber and heartwrenching but I’m glad that I did because ultimately she has become another piece of me I didn’t know it was missing.

I think there are many things that can influence us in life. For me, I have been influenced by so much within pop culture, TV shows, movies, and most certainly music. Not everything I consume makes such a splash but then you hear Lilac Wine for the first time and it’s over for the girls.

Discovering Nina Simone definitely changed my life and the way that I view the world.

From my own experience in the social justice space, I can tell you that good, life-changing and successful movement work comes at a price, and sometimes with sacrifice. From what I learned Simone lost her music career fighting for our people and we should never forget what these women (and men) sacrificed for us in order to move society forward.

When I think of Simone, I think of an artist who was unapologetically Black and uncompromising in her artistic vision. And as a result, some folks might feel uncomfortable with her work and not want to engage with it.

Do You Boo.

I love Nina Simone because her music makes me feel seen. It’s so funny the way that music lives through the decades in a way that is still relevant at any time.

We love Nina Simone because she was unafraid to be herself even if society doesn’t always agree or understand her. We love her for being boldly Black, defiantly female, and musically genius.

Black Women Deserve Love on Valentine’s Day, Too

In a world where black women are often painted as strong and unbreakable, we sometimes forget that we are human. We deserve love and intimacy just like everyone else. On Valentine’s Day, it is important for us to be vulnerable and express our need for love. This is not only a personal need but also a societal one. Love is an important part of our lives, and dating and relationships help us to develop into better people.

As I scroll the streets of TikTok, I have to say that I really love the balance I’ve been witnessing in conversations about love and relationships. I think collectively all of the women have decided that yeah, we are definitely better off alone and can get a lot more done when we are single, even if we are mingling every now and again. For a long time when friends would come to me expressing their hardships in the dating world, my first reaction would be to check them on what they could be doing to better themselves. sometimes I would just straight out tell them that they should focus on themselves and I was wrong for doing that.

If I’m being honest, when it comes to matters of the heart I can definitely say that I’ve got some personal walls up that make it hard for me to be vulnerable but I also understand that it’s so human to do so. A part of my own personal development is to acknowledge when people are being vulnerable with me and behave accordingly.

It is not a crime to want to be wanted.

It is not a crime to want love and affection.

It is not a crime to want love, love should come naturally to us as humans.

As women, love should not have to be something that we ask for, and yet so many of us are going unloved.

Of course, we have friends and family members who love us dearly but that just isn’t enough. As a Black woman, I’m really grateful to hear the stories of other Black women expressing how hard it is to navigate the dating scene and their desires to be partnered. Not because I want to see other women suffering, but because it shows that I’m not alone and desiring what is natural to me. These are often women who from the outside seem to have it all, but on the inside, they are hurting and are lonely and are super brave for expressing that publicly. In this time of dating coaches and know it all’s, it’s challenging to be outwardly vulnerable especially when there’s so much trash out there waiting to rub it all in your face.

I’ve been learning even more from the white women who have made it really clear to me that if a woman, in general, wants to be partnered she needs to put the pedal to the metal and make it a part-time job complete with spreadsheets and a game plan. This love is work! But love should not be so hard to find.

I’ve had friends tell me that they need love in their lives, and it upsets me when I hear them say things that make it clear to me that they are settling. It’s crazy what we do sometimes to just survive this world. Those are the same women who have come from families where love wasn’t expressed properly and now here we are thinking that our desire for love isn’t valid because it’s too focused on ourselves. Listen sis, if you don’t stand up for yourself nobody else will either. You deserve loving attention as much as everyone else does and you shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than what you deserve. You deserve it all.

Since the start of the panorama, I think we all kind of knew that it would change the way that we go about dating but I don’t think anybody was prepared for just how difficult things have become. If you desire to be partnered, be intentional and do that and if you’re like me who feels like I have some self-work to do first, then do that. But don’t allow yourself to be gaslit by anyone for any reason. I’ve got a little fire in my belly as I write this because I just finished watching the Tinder Swindler on Netflix and baby I’m fired up.

Be careful out there in these Internet dating streets. But do what you’ve gotta do.

Black women, you are worthy of love.

All women, happy Valentine’s Day.

When a Black Woman Discovers Dry Shampoo

The struggle is real when it comes to wash day for natural hair. Between the time it takes to detangle, wash, and style your hair, sometimes you just don’t have time for all of that. Not to mention that the seasonal saddies have led me to rocking a set of wig braids way longer than I would normally approve. That’s where dry shampoo comes in handy! Dry shampoo can help you freshen up your scalp and extend the life of your hairstyle in between wash days.

Let’s discuss how to use dry shampoo on African-American hair, as well as the benefits of styling wigs and protective styles in between wash days.

When it comes to dry shampoo, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, dry shampoo is not a substitute for washing your hair. It is only meant to be used in-between wash days as a way to freshen up your scalp. Personally, I find that dry shampoo has been the answer to my prayers when it comes to wig musk as well. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about when you’ve been wearing that wig for a couple of hours and your scalp starts to feel like a sauna. Sweet, sweet relief is a canister of dry shampoo.

Second, dry shampoo can be drying on the scalp, so make sure to use it sparingly. And finally, not all dry shampoos are created equal. Some formulas may be more suitable for African-American hair than others and I always follow up with a spray leave-in conditioner to relieve some of the dryness as well as a good oil if it becomes too much.

If you’re looking for a dry shampoo that is specifically designed for African-American hair, I recommend using Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Dry Shampoo. You can check my YouTube channel for some of my other Carol’s Daughter hair reviews. This dry shampoo contains natural ingredients like Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil that help to nourish and protect the scalp. It also has a light, refreshing scent that will leave your hair smelling great!

If you’re not sure how to use dry shampoo, here is a quick tutorial:

Step 1. Shake the dry shampoo can well before using.

Step 2. Section off your hair (if it’s not already braided) and spray the dry shampoo at the roots of your hair as we’re focusing on the oily areas.

Step 3. Massage the dry shampoo into your scalp with your fingers.

Step 4. Let the dry shampoo sit for a few minutes, then brush it out of your hair or rub it out with a cloth or paper towel.

Step 5. Style as usual.

Styling wigs and protective styles in between wash days is a great way to keep manipulation of your scalp to a minimum. Wigs and protective styles can also help to protect your hair from the sun and wind, and they can help to keep your scalp moisturized. But let’s not pretend like we don’t push these styles to the very limits especially when we’re paying other people to perform these services for us.

Honesty I don’t know where I would be without some of my favorite synthetic (YES SYNTHETIC) wigs or classic Janet Jackson Poetic Justice box braids. I would have to wash my hair every single day and I really don’t want to do that.

So dry shampoo is a staple in my life unapologetically because when it comes to our kinks, coils, and curls, we just can’t risk anything less than perfection (cue Solange Knowles).