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Read Mary J. Blige’s Heartfelt Nina Simone Rock Hall Induction Speech | Rolling Stone

Read Mary J. Blige’s Heartfelt Nina Simone Rock Hall Induction Speech | Rolling Stone Blige honors Simone for singing songs "about injustice, struggle, and black life [that] resonate to this day"

Nina Simone, African American Activist, African American Music, African American History, Black History, Racism, Race, Race Relations, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN



Mary J. Blige has always felt a deep connection to the music of Nina Simone. In 2015, she recorded a jazzy, soulful cover of Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” for the compilation Nina Revisited and she was previously attached to portray the vocalist in a biopic, though the role eventually went to Zoe Saldana.

Nina Simone, African American Activist, African American Music, African American History, Black History, Racism, Race, Race Relations, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Before the casting switch, though, Blige explained why Simone was so important to her in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Playing a character like Nina Simone is playing myself,” she said, “because Nina Simone was a manic depressive, drug addict, alcoholic, cursing wild maniac that I was, but very talented, so people would get that.”

Nina Simone, African American Activist, African American Music, African American History, Black History, Racism, Race, Race Relations, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

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She underscored her bond with Simone during an emotional speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, where she did the honors of welcoming the late singer into the institution on Saturday. “I am such a huge Nina Simone fan,” Blige told Rolling Stone earlier this year, “and am beyond thrilled and honored to be a part of her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.” Here’s what she had to say about Simone at the gala.


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