World premiere of 'Little Girl Blue,' a tribute to Nina Simone, opens at George Street

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Actress/singer Laiona Michelle grew up listening to her mother's Nina Simone records, to songs like "I Love You, Porgy," and she remembers feeling drawn to the singer's rich tone and unique stylings.

But it was years later, after soaking up tunes like "Mississippi Goddam" and "Four Women," that Michelle began to appreciate Simone's struggles and strength.

"She saw herself as a classical artist, but the world didn't. Her first love was Bach, but because she was black, she was labelled a jazz musician," Michelle said. "But she went from a commercial musician to an activist and revolutionary. She found her voice despite her circumstances."

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