The National Trust for Historic Preservation through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has announced it’s begun a crowdfunding campaign in order to support the restoration and preservation of Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina.
The campaign, supported by John Legend, Cat Stevens, Issa Rae, Mahershala Ali and other celebrities have banned together to assist the funding effort and are raising awareness about the home of the prolific singer/songwriter and activist.
Funds from the crowdfunding campaign will go toward refurbishing the 90-year-old interior of Simone’s home and will include the opportunity to purchase branded merchandise with Simone’s imagery and/or goods donated from the celebrities involved.
“When three fellow artists and I purchased Nina Simone’s childhood home in 2017, we did so with the desire that the site be transformed into a piece of living history,” artist Adam Pendleton said. “This space, so integral to Nina Simone’s music and activism, can serve to carry forward her legacy and inspire future artists and musicians.”
John Legend also weighed in on Twitter. “I’ve always admired @NinaSimone’s commitment to social justice and the way she used her commanding voice to promote equality,” the musician wrote. “Join me in preserving her legacy by contributing to @Savin Places to help protect her childhood.”
I've always admired #NinaSimone’s commitment to social justice and the way she used her commanding voice to promote equality. Join me in preserving her legacy by contributing to @SavingPlaces to protect her childhood home. https://t.co/r7rnaToxiG pic.twitter.com/nLIydNZJL8— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 1, 2019
The fundraiser also provided a description of their mission regarding the project: “Despite its rich history at the root of Simone’s legacy, her childhood home in Tryon sat vacant and neglected following previously unsuccessful preservation efforts. In 2017, when demolition appeared to be the only option, four New York-based artists rallied together and purchased the home so that it could be spared from the wrecking ball.”
Nina Simone, born Eunice Waymon, was born in Tyron in 1933 and began her incredible musical journey under the roof of her childhood home. The house was where she learned to play piano and read music, which would be the seeds of her incredible life as a legendary singer/songwriter and civil rights advocate. Simone’s career spanned multiple genres, four decades, and earned her 15 Grammy nominations. Her songs have been professionally sampled and covered more than 500 times.
To donate to the campaign, click here.
Photo: David Redfern/Redferns