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Cynique

Back in the Day

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Picture of James Baldwin and Nina Simone, and Billiie And Ella. Black legends whose artistry lives on...

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Nice. I wish I knew the stories behind both of these photos. What year and when were they taken? What were the circumstances that brought each of them together?

Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known by her stage name Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music.

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. Baldwin's essays, such as the collection Notes of a Native Son, explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies

Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing.

Ella Jane Fitzgerald, also known as the "First Lady of Song", "Queen of Jazz", and "Lady Ella", was an American jazz and song vocalist.

(all short bios clipped from Wikipedia)

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I would guess from the style of dress and hair styles, that the picture of Nina and James was taken in the late 1950s or early 60s. For Ella and Billie I would say the early 1950s. From the photo backgrounds I would also guess that they were all at private gatherings

Nina hadn't yet adopted an Afro and she is wearing a dress with a peter pan collar, and James a button down shirt and narrow tie, all of which were popular during that era. (I used to wear my hair the same way Nina is wearing hers.)

Billie's headdress and fur stole are vintage 1940s and 50s. And Ella's straightened hair and "nappy" edges bespeak of a time before perms and wigs came in.

Whenever it was, it seems like a happier time in the lives of all of them, the phase before all hell broke loose to usher in the militant 1960s.

Most people associate "I loves you Porgy" with Nina but she was more than just a vocalist. She was an accomplished classical pianist. Check out the counterpoint on this selection.

http://youtu.be/4sAbW0ONRBU .

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