Nina Simone's Definition of An Artist (An artist's duty) Nina Simone:
And my songs are deliberately to provoke this feeling of like: “who am I and where did I come from? Do I really like me, and why do I like me? And, if I am Black and beautiful, I really am and I know it, and I don’t care who cares/says what”. That’s what my songs are about. And it is addressed to Black people. Though at times, the songs, I hope, that in their musical concept and in their musical form and power, that they will also live on after I die in as much that they are universal songs. Question:
I don’t think that an artist should be involved in these kinds of things.
An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their choice, but I CHOOSE to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved. Young people, black and white, know this. That’s why they’re so involved in politics. We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.