Nina at Harlem

Nina Simone, Harlem, 1969
Nina Simone at Harlem, 1969

I couldn’t get her off my mind after seeing Questlove’s documentary, Summer of Soul. Here’s the soul who, at age 12, wouldn’t continue her piano recital until her parents were offered seats in the front row. I cannot imagine exercising such courage of conviction in front of a crowd of expectant people at age 12. I admire how she continued to transform the raw materials of her often painful life into profound, expressive beauty.

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There Is a Vitality

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.” — Martha Graham

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