Nina Simone’s Four Women is among the most incendiary songs of her career and it tells the story of four very different women who have faced similar suffering. Aunt Sarah’s hair is wooly. Saffronia’s hair is long. Sweet Thing’s hair is fine. Peaches has more on her mind than hair. It’s a portrait of reality rarely heard in song.
So many of Nina Simone’s songs are gifts meant to lift you up and this is certainly one of them. Nina Simone wrote it in honor of her friend Lorraine Hansberry after she passed away. Do yourself a favor and check out the YouTube clip where Nina’s braided up-do is so regal and inspiring.
The lyrics say it all. “She does not know her beauty. She thinks her brown body has no glory. If she could dance naked under palm trees and see her image in the river, she would know. Then she would know.” Too many of us don’t know. Thank you Nina Simone, for having lived your life by example and reminding us all of our beauty, strength and power.
Afrobella was the natural hair blogger at AOL’s Black Voices and a writer for Vogue Italia’s Vogue Black website. She has also presented keynotes at several major media expos and seminars.