Today we celebrate the High Priestess of Soul Nina Simone. The City of Berkeley, Warren Widener issued the “Proclamation of Nina Simone Day,” on March 31, 1972. Orchestrated by Mary Ann Pollar of the Rainbow Signa Berkeley Black cultural center that was active from 1971 to 1977.
Nina performed at the 220 seat recital hall for two nights and stated “Because I had to be here and do this for someone I love–– and I love Mary Ann Pollar, a very old and dear friend.” – when asked by Phillip Elwood a journalist “Why did Miss Simone, who commands five-figure concert fees, sing for less than 1000 people?”
Speaking about the Rainbow Sign is Nina shared “a very peaceful, wonderful place” and announced, “I am pleased to be a part of it.” Like Odetta, Maya Angelo, and James Balwin, she also believed in the mission of education of the Rainbow Sign whose focus was on reaching youth and giving them a sense of hope and responsibility by providing tools and mentorship needed to succeed.
The Executive Director of the Bay Area Urban League, Percy Steele Jr., announced a campaign to make “Young, Gifted and Black” the new Black anthem. Even though the Rainbow Sign is no longer active. This space laid the foundation for community outreach something that is still relevent within our commuity today.
High Priestess of Soul Nina Simone born Eunice Kathleen Waymon is an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Her songs such as Sinnerman, I Put a Spell on You, and Strange Fruit moves your spirit and soul. Each of these songs have been very instrumental in enhancing our culture awareness.
We celebrate you Nina Simone – Thank you. Learn more about Nina by visiting – www.ninasimone.com