The Origin of “Four Women” performance on Black Girls Rock! 2010


While many agree this was the best performance of the night for Black Girls Rock! 2010 passionately vocalized by four of my favorite artists: Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott and Ledisi, I cannot help but wonder how many of us truly know where this song originated? If not, allow me to explain…

…it was written by someone I like to call the “Mother Nature of Music“, Mrs. Eunice Kathleen Waymon (2/21/33 – 4/21/03) aka Nina Simone

(See history, description, watch Nina’s version and find out how the legacy lives on after the jump…)

Released on her 1966 album “Wild is the Wind”, Four Women paints the story of four different stereotypes of African American Women gradually building in tempo and level to reflect the instability of each character. This track was descriptively crafted to tell the story of our sufferings but many overly-sensitive people interpreted the song as racist claiming it was drawing on black stereotypes and the track was eventually banned from major radio stations. Here is a description of each woman from Wikipedia…

  • The first of the four women to be discussed within the song is “Aunt Sarah” a character who represents African American enslavement. Nina Simone’s description of the woman emphasizes the strong and resilient aspects of her race, “strong enough to take all the pain” as well as the long-term suffering her race has had to endure, “inflicted again and again”.
  • The second woman who appears in the song is dubbed “Safronia”, a woman of mixed race forced to live “between two worlds”. She is portrayed as an oppressed woman and her story is once again used to highlight the suffering of the black race at the hands of white people in positions of power, “My father was rich and white”, “He forced my mother late one night”.
  • The Third character to be explored in the song is that of a prostitute referred to in the song as “Sweet thing”. She finds acceptance with both black and white people “my hair is fine” but sadly only because she provides sexual gratification with out prejudice, “whose little girl am I?” “Anyone who has money to buy”.
  • The fourth and final woman we meet through the course of the song is an embittered and volatile woman, a product of the generations of oppression and suffering endured by her people, “I’m awfully bitter these days, ’cause my parents were slaves”. She seems prone to violence “I’ll kill the first mother I see!” and her difficult character may be inspired by the late Nina Simone’s own bitterness towards white people and their many crimes against her race. Simone finally unveils the woman’s name after a dramatic finale during which Simone screams, “My name is Peaches!

Peep the original version by Nina Simone below:


My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is wooly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
Its been inflicted again and again
What do they call me
My name is AUNT SARAH
My name is Aunt Sarah

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me
My name is SIFFRONIA
My name is Siffronia

My skin is tan
My hairs alright, its fine
My hips invite you
And my lips are like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Well yours if you have some money to buy
What do they call me
My name is SWEET THING
My name is Sweet Thing

My skin is brown
And my manner is tough
Ill kill the first mother I see
Cos my life has been too rough
Im awfully bitter these days
because my parents were slaves
What do they call me

Nina Simone's daughter "Simone"

Click here to visit Nina Simone’s official homepage

Click here for more Nina Simone videos

Click here to see the legacy carried on by Nina’s daughter “SIMONE”


About Queen Unique

Involved Parent/PTA Member Connoisseur of SOUL Music Lover of ALL things BLACK Poet/Spoken Word Artist Nostalgic Hip Hop head Graphic Artist/Painter Online Radio Hostess Motivational Speaker Habitual Hair Braider Freelance Journalist Random Twitter-er Selective Blogger Published Author Youth Volunteer Choosey Lover Autism Activist Visual Artist Bookworm See full bio at:
This entry was posted in Black History, earCandy, Education, Entertainment, For OUR Daughters, Girl Power, Inspirational/Motivational, Music, Race Matters, Teach the babies, Things I Love and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Origin of “Four Women” performance on Black Girls Rock! 2010

  1. Safronia Perry says:

    I thought this song was amazing. I had never heard it before Black Girls Rock. I jumped up shouting when I heard my name in the song. My name is Safronia.

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