Nina Simone

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Organic Round Neck T-shirt

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100% Organic ring-spun Combed Cotton

155 gsm

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UNITED SOULS has always paid tribute to music’s role in the struggle for emancipation of oppressed peoples. This commitment makes the brand really appreciate the lifelong battle Nina Simone waged for civil rights.

Gifted with a unique style which didn’t fit in with the rigidity of the classical music education of the time, she was recognised by the classical establishments much too late. This didn’t stop her proving her talent and showing how important it is to have a message. Her desire to step out of those imposed limitations led her to jazz where she let her thirst for musical freedom run wild.

Later, though she was receiving rave reviews, neither the critics not the public would let go of her commitment to Martin Luther King, or her subversive songs such as moon over Alabama, Strange fruit, or the famous Mississippi Goddam! ... Outraged by umpteen segregationist judgements she dug deeper into her origins and the acknowledgement of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, leading her to immigrate to Africa.

Soothed by having been back to her roots, she went back on the stage again by public demand, performing a legendary concert at the Montreux jazz festival. It was there that she gave a powerful speech revealing her hurt and fragility, both of which accompanied her on her struggle, but also her ever-present will to transcend it through her art.

For United Souls, Nina Simone will always be the person who managed to influence her period as much as she was hurt by its violence. Our choice to pay tribute to her with a drawing from portrait artist Marie-Claire Laffaire is a reminder that most battles, however hard they may be, find their echoes and relief in music; and Nina’s powerful and profound voice accompanies us at United Souls now, in our artistic and humane approach.

It’s our thing to combine our visual tributes with musical ones, so check out our latest collaboration with the avid music lover and Radio Campus DJ, Dr Wax. He takes us on a rollercoaster ride through Afro-American music from the 60s and

70s; the years that turned the little Eunice Kathleen Waymon into the great Nina Simone.

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