Black Rep’s ‘Four Women’ connects with audiences

St. Louis American - 05-23

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Nina Simone is widely known as the personification of the tortured genius. Her life was made even more complicated as one of the countless African Americans forced to endure generations of systematic barriers impeded on their life and experiences that stretched back to when black people were kept in bondage and all the way through the onset of the Civil Rights Era. Contrary to popular belief, not even successful artists were immune to being held back because of their blackness. Despite years of dedicated training and natural talent, Eunice Waymon was refused the opportunity to achieve her life’s goal in becoming a classical pianist. But as Nina Simone, she fulfilled her destiny as an artist who provided unflinching insight into the trauma imposed on African Americans through racial violence and segregation. Her music was part of the soundtrack for the movement as she tuned into the suffering, rage and frustration of a people in the midst of fighting against the oppression intended to keep them from their well-deserved piece of the American dream.