Eva Photo Shoot

Eva is an actor in Chicago. It was really fun experimenting with her this weekend. I wanted to create shots that weren't really about being beautiful.  I want to show that it's okay to be edgy, or almost borderline ugly. It's clear that Eva is an actor and can show her versatility. If you'd like to contact her regarding any acting or modeling gigs, go to my contact me page and I will refer you to her. Be patient with the gallery, and click on the photos to get a better view.

Nina Simone: “Mississippi Goddam”

Mississippi Goddam "Mississippi Goddam" was written by Nina herself. Simone first performed the song at the Village Gate nightclub in Greenwich Village. The first album it appeared on was "Nina Simone in Concert." Nina became more political as her career continued, and “Mississippi Goddam” was the turning point, 1963 specifically. Because of the political nature of the song, she became less accessible to the main stream, and was criticized for it. mississippi goddam This was a period of her career that showcased her true nature and thoughts. Her art reflected the times. She was aggressive, she wasn't afraid to use force and she was bold. She was emerging to the public as a Civil Rights Movement leader.  Simone’s political turn in her music would cost her dearly in the mainstream music scene. Later Simone noted, “I wouldn’t change being a part of the civil rights movement. I wouldn’t change that, but some of the songs that I sang, I would have changed because they hurt my career.” Culturally, Mississippi was a state where racial segregation was rampant at the time, and the Supreme Court and Congress had not passed any anti-segregation laws.  The song specifically addresses the murder of Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist, in June of 1963. Evers was murdered in Mississippi by KKK member Byron De La Beckwith. The song also references the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four black girls on September 15, 1963. Nina later remarked regarding the song, “At first I tried to make myself a gun. I gathered some materials. I was going to take one of them out, and I didn’t care who it was. Then Andy, my husband at the time, said to me, ‘Nina, you can’t kill anyone. You are a musician. Do what you do.’ When I sat down the whole song happened. I never stopped writing until the thing was finished.” Simone was famously not afraid to endorse violence. Simone composed "Mississippi Goddam" in less than an hour. Together with "Four Women" and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", it is one of her most famous protest songs and self-written compositions. Due to the use of the word “goddam” and the political nature of the song, albums that were sent to radio stations in the South were sent back, broken in half. Simone’s label of “The High Priestest of Soul” was fading into her new activist persona. Simone ended up performing “Mississippi Goddam” at the incredibly crucial and historic Selma march in front of 10,000 people in March of 1965. The Selma marches were all held in 1965 and were part of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. Indeed, in “Mississippi Goddam” Nina remarks, “Alamaba’s got me so upset.” Additional black activists including James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr, Harry Belafonte and Sammy Davis Jr were present at the Selma march. photo: the front lines of Selma selma march Nina was originally trained as a classical pianist, and her dream was to play at Carnegie Hall. In fact, she ended up performing at Carnegie Hall in front of a mostly white audience, but it was not on the classical piano. Her performance at Carnegie Hall included “Mississippi Goddam.” Late in life Nina reflected on what her life would have been like if she would have become a female black classical pianist. For personal and political reasons Simone eventually left the country. She said, lamenting the bitterness she acquired due to her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, “I left this country because I didn’t like this country. I didn’t like what it was doing to my people and I left.” photo: Nina at Carnegie Hall ninacarnegiehall I am inspired by this song because of its iconic nature. Simone takes a simple musical form and infuses a vibrantly powerful message into it. I am amazed by her strength as an artist to sacrifice popularity for the sake of social change. I think that it shows incredible strength on her part. As a white woman, “Mississippi Goddam” has helped open my eyes to the complex and deeply rooted racial tensions in the US. I hope that you enjoy this song and are as inspired as I am by it. For example, “too damn lazy” is referring to a racial stereotype of black people, which, in my opinion, is still omnipresent today. What Nina truly wanted was, "equality for my sister, my brother, my people and me." I would highly recommend the documentary "What Happened, Miss Simone?" on Netflix. You can find it there for free with a Netflix subscription. You can find links to the song by scrolling to the end of the article. Here are the lyrics: "The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam And I mean every word of it Alabama's gotten me so upset Tennessee made me lose my rest And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam Alabama's gotten me so upset Tennessee made me lose my rest And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam Can't you see it Can't you feel it It's all in the air I can't stand the pressure much longer Somebody say a prayer Alabama's gotten me so upset Tennessee made me lose my rest And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam This is a show tune But the show hasn't been written for it, yet Hound dogs on my trail School children sitting in jail Black cat cross my path I think every day's gonna be my last Lord have mercy on this land of mine We all gonna get it in due time I don't belong here I don't belong there I've even stopped believing in prayer Don't tell me I tell you Me and my people just about due I've been there so I know They keep on saying "Go slow!" But that's just the trouble "do it slow" Washing the windows "do it slow" Picking the cotton "do it slow" You're just plain rotten "do it slow" You're too damn lazy "do it slow" The thinking's crazy "do it slow" Where am I going What am I doing I don't know I don't know Just try to do your very best Stand up be counted with all the rest For everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam I made you thought I was kiddin' Picket lines School boy cots They try to say it's a communist plot All I want is equality for my sister my brother my people and me Yes you lied to me all these years You told me to wash and clean my ears And talk real fine just like a lady And you'd stop calling me Sister Sadie Oh but this whole country is full of lies You're all gonna die and die like flies I don't trust you any more You keep on saying "Go slow!" "Go slow!" But that's just the trouble "do it slow" Desegregation "do it slow" Mass participation "do it slow" Reunification "do it slow" Do things gradually "do it slow" But bring more tragedy "do it slow" Why don't you see it Why don't you feel it I don't know I don't know You don't have to live next to me Just give me my equality Everybody knows about Mississippi Everybody knows about Alabama Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam That's it!" Additional Links:  A traditional version is here, accompanied by pictures referencing the times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBiAtwQZnHs In this version she plays with rhythm and infuses a bit more of a jazz feel to the piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVQjGGJVSXc A link to the song on Spotify is below. https://open.spotify.com/track/4mQd00lhfKWoz93hBGLD6o Check out my additional blog posts by clicking here. Feel free to contact me by clicking here.    

Enanna

I took photos of the beautiful Enanna in Rogers Park, Chicago this weekend. It was beautiful and warm out, so we pretended it was summer. Click on the photos to get a better view.