In honor of Charm City, the Burton Wire remembers music legend Nina Simone’s song, “Baltimore,” on fabulous Friday. Simone’s song is from 1978 and the lyrics reflect the socio-economic and cultural characteristics of a city still under siege in 2015. Simone states in an interview, “I choose to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That to me is my duty. At this crucial time in our lives when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved.”
Simone’s words speak to the role of music in revolution and social change and artists using their platforms and voices to speak for those who often are not allowed to speak for themselves. Simone goes on to say, “How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?” Songbird Jazmine Sullivan covers Simone’s tribute to Charm City, reminding this generation of the need for contemporary musical artists to use their voices to shed light on issues affecting black and brown communities. Sullivan’s cover of “Baltimore” will appear on a forthcoming tribute album to Simone. The video accompanying Sullivan’s cover encompasses footage of protesters in Baltimore surrounding the Freddie Gray killing, words from activists like Angela Y. Davis during her hunger strike while unjustly incarcerated and the voices of those seeking change. Check out Sullivan’s rendition below:
Enjoy, evolve, educate and empower.