Today is the day Nina Simone was born and Malcolm X died

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February 21st is the day that Nina Simone was born. It is also the day that Malcolm X died. It is hard to imagine a more appropriate cosmic connection.


Nina Simone—that radical, daring, feared, misunderstood woman—was born on February 21, 1933. She would go on to have one of the most legendary musical careers in history.

Malcolm X—that radical, daring, feared, misunderstood man—was gunned down while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on February 21, 1965. He had already cemented his place in the pantheon. It was Simone's 32nd birthday.


It makes complete sense that these two are so joined. Both are towering symbols of the black revolutionary tradition. What's more, their families became connected in real life.

In her autobiography, Simone wrote about how she and Malcolm had orbited each other:

I had never met Malcolm X face-to-face, although I did hear him speak in Harlem more than once, but I knew his wife, Betty Shabazz, because she was a neighbor of ours in Mount Vernon. She had been moving here and there with her children after Malcolm left Elijah Mohammed and the Nation of Islam because he felt he was moving in a different direction, politically and spiritually, from the Muslim movement that had spawned him. Then Malcolm was murdered and a group of people came together to raise the money for Betty to find a place, and I got involved in that.

Had Malcolm not been murdered, it is quite possible that he and Nina Simone would have joined forces in some way. Who knows what magic that might have produced.

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