madonna's no nina

i went to sleep last night listening to nina simone on repeat. it's been over a year since she passed away. i still regret that i never got to see her live the times that she played in LA. i woke up around 5am to the eery piano of "pirate jenny." it kind of scared me listening to it by myself in the early morning. i then started thinking about the live recording of "mississippi goddamn." i thought about all the upper-class white people sitting uncomfortably in the audience, hoping to be entertained by this jazz diva. instead, the final song of the night is nina singing-to-near-screaming about desegregation:

you don't have to live next to me
just give me my equality

on the common recording of this song on all the reconstituted musical compilations of her work, i love how it sounds like it was the final song of the evening. afterwards, she yells, "that's it!" and the band breaks out into an upbeat jazz cutaway while the audience politely claps. i always took it as an "up yours!" from her to a privileged, predominately white audience that is more comfortable and more accustomed to seeing black people as either their employees or entertainers.

btw, she also plays the most amazing piano on love me or leave me. i don't know if there'll ever be another jazz vocalist/musician like nina in my lifetime. i can't believe i never got to see her live... goddamn!