Stealth Isolation: the work of Nina Simone & Dionne Warwick
JORDANNAH ELIZABETH | 10/8/2020, midnight
It has been reported widely that the president of the United States has contracted COVID-19. Just when we think we’ve been through every twist and turn in this global crisis life shows us that this disease is not going to dissipate and leave our world without a fight.
The president has assured our people that things were under control and nonchalantly expressed that he only wore masks when it was necessary, unwilling to wear it in every instance of his social and professional life. He left himself vulnerable to the disease cloaking himself with a veneer of confidence, leaving behind an important layer of sensitivity that is owed to the families of people who have lost their lives: 200,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States. Marginalized people, essential workers, and frontline professionals have taken on the brunt of this disease that currently exists without a vaccine.
Legendary soul singer Dionne Warwick hosted a “Day of Remembrance” of those who lost their lives in the battle with COVID on Oct. 4 in the form of a virtual gathering based in Washington D.C. This is another instance of a member of the music and arts community, stepping up to do the work that our governmental leaders should be spearheading.
Warwick spoke, “It’s time to stand with all the survivors and Americans who have been devastatingly impacted. It’s time to thank the essential workers and treat this pandemic as it is: an incredible tragedy. And most of all, it’s time to pray for those still suffering and for our nation to unite and come together to mourn and honor the precious lives lost.”
Another Black woman musician, Nina Simone, became a voice for the people during the civil rights era, performing songs like “Four Women” and “Mississippi Goddamn,” urging the world to pay attention to the display of terror that was beset upon American Black people during that time.
Nina’s enigmatic presence still lives on today. It has been reported that Verve/UMe will be re-releasing two of Simone’s seminal albums, “I Put a Spell on You” and “Pastel Blues.” The vinyl reissues will be available in November––right around the time of our presidential election.
We still need women like Nina and Dionne Warwick to gather and connect with people who feel disconnected and helpless in a culture that does not feel welcoming, protective or safe when it comes to our bodies and lives.
You can pre-order the album reissues on Amazon.com.