Nina Simone

Gio'Vairs Galleries of Art supports the Nina Simone Project with many fine artists and organizations.
Below are some biography notes on Dr. Nina Simone.


Nina Simone Legacy Project

Nina Simone recorded more than 40 live and studio albums with a total cannon of original and interpreted songs nearing 400.

*She began playing piano at the age of four. By the time she was ten years old,
she was ready for her first classical recital.
The event also marked her first stand against racial bigotry. During her performance, her parents were moved from the front row to the back, in order to make room for white patrons.
She refused to continue with the recital until her parents were brought back to their original seats

 *She was valedictorian of her high school and went on scholarship to Julliard for one year. Shortly afterwards she moved with her parents to Philadelphia and begin playing in an Atlanta City nightclub where she adopted the name Nina Simone.

*Her most notable and active period was from 1958 to 1974.

*In 1958, Simone’s debut album “Little Girl Blue,” which included her hits “I Loves You Porgy” and ”My Baby Just Cares For Me,” sold a million copies, but she was only paid 3000 dollars.

*Break out performance: A concert at New York's Town Hall in 1959 when she secured a hit with her individual interpretation of George Gershwin's 'I Loves You Porgy.”

*Ms. Simone was as famous for her social consciousness as she was for her music. In the 1960's no musical performer was more closely identified with the civil rights movement.

*On September 15, 1963, Nina Simone learned that four young African American girls had been killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Immediately after hearing about the events in Birmingham, however, Simone wrote the song "Mississippi Goddam." It came to her in a "rush of fury, hatred and determination" as she "suddenly realized what it was to be black in America in 1963." It was, she said, "my first civil rights song." 

*During the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama, Nina Simone performed during the "Stars for Freedom" rally which also included singers Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Peter, Paul and Mary and Sammy Davis, Jr.

*Nina's involvement with the civil rights movement provided the material for many of her songs such as 'Mississippi Goddam', 'Backlash Blues', 'Four Women', and 'To be Young, Gifted and Black', which became an anthem of the movement and was dedicated to her late friend, the playwright Lorraine Hansberry.

*Many of the civil rights activists she became friends with included the Black Muslim leader, Louis Farrakhan, the singer Miriam Makeba, the Black Panther activist, Stokely Carmichael, and the writer, James Baldwin.

*She became close to Martin Luther King Jr. and often sang “We Shall Overcome” during marches. Three days after King was assassinated in 1968, Simone performed “Why? (The King of Love is Dead)” written by her bass player in reaction to the tragedy.

*Simone left the U.S. for good in the 1970s, declaring that she could no longer endure racism.  She lived in Egypt, Barbados, Switzerland, Turkey, Liberia, and Holland before settling in France in 1994. She continued to perform, but suffered many setbacks in her personal life.

*She gained new popularity in 1987, when a Chanel commercial used an early version of "My Baby Just Cares for Me," which became a hit throughout Britain and was later used in the 1996 movie “Stealing Beauty.” She published an autobiography, “I Put a Spell on You,” in 1992, and put out the album “A Single Woman” in 1993, the same year that many of her songs were showcased in the film “Point of No Return.”

*Nina Simone died on April 21, 2003 in her Carry-le-Rouet, France home, leaving behind her only daughter, Lisa Celeste Stroud, and the following words: “I want to be remembered as a diva who never compromised in what she felt about racism and how the world should be, and who consistently stayed the same.”

*Dr. Simone received honorary doctorate degrees from the Julliard School, The Curtis Institute, The University of Massachusetts and Malcolm X University.

*Dr Nina Simone was the recipient of several awards over the years. On October 7, 1999, Simone received a Lifetime Achievement in Music Award in Dublin. In 2000, Simone received the Diamond Award for Excellence in Music from the Association of African American Music in Philadelphia and the Honorable Musketeer Award from the Compagnie des Mosquetaires d’Armagnac in France. As per her request, Simone’s ashes were spread in several African countries.

  • Upcoming projects
    • Nina Simone feature film (In discussions)
    • Nina  Simone Cultural Arts Center (Ghana)
    • Traveling Gallery and Exhibition (Begins in ATL in Sept 2009)
    • Statue, Plaza and Music Festival in her hometown.

Local Artists Particpating In Nina: No Illusions, No Escape

The Visual Artists

In selecting the artists for this show, our ambition is to seek diversity in modes of expression, thought and style. Each artist was selected based on their matured talents and overall aesthetical achievements.  A complete list of participating visual artists is listed below. Many of the artists are among the best in the Southeast with a number who rank amongst the best in the country.

William Anderson:

Georgette Baker:

Nancy Wellington-Bookhart:

Sam D. Burston:

Kimmy Cantrell:  

Sidney Carter: 

Kevin Cole:    

Alfred Conteh: 

Louis DelSarte:  

Dubelyoo (W): 

Maurice Evans:  

Malaika Favorite: 

Tosh Fomby: 

Samuel Guilford: 

Earl Jackson: 

F. Geoffrey Johnson:

Grace Kisa:

Tracey Lewis: 

Lynn Marshal Linnemeir: 

Charmaine Minnifield:

Michael Clifton Morgan:

Frank Morrison: 

Marcella Muhammed: 

Charly Carlos Palmer: 

Ronnie Phillips: 


Dr. Chouaieb Saidi: 

Kevin Sipp: 

Lei Sha Starchia: 

Buchi Upjohn:

Roederick Vines: 

Margaret Warfield: 

Charlotte Riley-Webb: 

Kevin A. Williams:

Dante Yarbrough: 
Gilbert Young:

Artistic Venues


Gio'Vairs Galleries of Art

Website Builder