Music Matters In Our New World

The Undefeated:

{Nina} Simone revealed the inspiration for her “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life” from 1968’s ‘Nuff Said! (RCA/Victor) and gracefully transitioned into talking about another song from the same project, “Why? (The King of Love Is Dead)”. Composed by bassist Gene Taylor 24 hours after the murder of {Martin Luther King Jr.,} in Memphis, Tennessee, the ode became a haunting soundtrack as uprisings ignited across the country. Simone posed an open-ended question to a country eviscerated over civil and human rights and one barreling toward an election that would alter the course of America. “Folks, you’d better stop and think,” she crooned, “Everybody knows we’re on the brink / What will happen / Now that the King is dead.”

“The song is extremely powerful. There’s no conclusion,” she said of the song in PBS’ Blank On Blank. In a time when every slab of concrete was seemingly red with black blood and wet with black tears, she displayed strength, and found vibrancy. “It’s a good time for black people to be alive,” she said. “It’s a lot of hell and a lot of violence. But I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life.”

And here we are, nearly a half-century later.