AAMAM: Nina Simone. Pushing The Ironic Show Tune! Part 12 of 30



In 1963, in America, the Civil Rights movement was in full bloom. It was led by leaders whom held social sway with the oppressed. Collectively, leaders and oppressed, pushed an urgent agenda of freedom forward. Conversely, there were forces, which pushed back against the agenda of freedom.

On June 12, 1963, NAACP field officer, activist, husband, and father Medgar Wiley Evers was gunned down in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi home by the Ku Klux Klan who led the charge of pushing back against the agenda of freedom. Sympathetic Americans were outraged.

One outraged in particular was singer, pianist, and social activist Nina Simone. In response to the killing of Evers and the relentless brutality in the state against the oppressed, she penned, arguably her most famous protest song, “Mississippi Goddam!” In true and total frustration with the violent push-backs by white Southerners, she responded in her most natural way—in song! “Mississippi Goddam!” allowed her as well as her oppressed listening audience to vent their emotions in tune. However, juxtaposed to the song’s angry rant, Simone purposely recorded the song in an ironic cheerful show tune (like) style. Why? Because she could. (and I believe she wanted to hoodwink the white Southerners into tapping their feet while listening to her song.)

Take a listen to Simone’s angry response wrapped in a cheerful package. Watch your feet!

Happy AAMAM!