Remembering artist, activist Nina Simone on her birthday

Nina Simone was a singer-songwriter who became involved in addressing racial justice issues in the U.S.

Nina Simone performs at Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

American singer-songwriter Nina Simone was born on Feb. 21, 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina.

She was mostly known for her jazz, gospel, blues and pop sound, playing piano and mastering a classical repertory as well.

Into her career, she became involved in activism addressing racial justice issues in the United States.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture shared a quote from Simone which reads, "an artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."

Simone attended the Juilliard School in New York, and she had applied to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia but was denied.

She performed in the 1960s in New York's Greenwich Village where she got to know intellectuals of the time like James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Simone became a cultural icon through her music and social justice work.

In 1991, Simone published an autobiography titled "I Put a Spell on You," named after her famous 1965 hit song.

In 2003, Simone died from complications with cancer at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, France.

In 2008, Rolling Stone named Simone in their list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time," and she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Janelle Monae performs at the 2013 Essence Music Festival.

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