Four Women by Nina Simone by Daniel Bitton - Illustrated by Daniel Bitton -
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Four Women by Nina Simone


Artwork: Daniel Bitton

  • Joined Mar 2021
  • Published Books 1


This book is about the song “Four Women” by Nina Simone.

“Four Women” was released in April 1966 as part of the album “Wild in The Wind”.

During the song, we get introduced to four different African American women, Each character represents an African-American stereotype.








My skin is black

My arms are long
My hair is woolly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
Inflicted again and again
What do they call me?
My name is Aunt Sarah
My name is Aunt Sarah, Aunt Sarah


My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me?
My name is Saffronia
My name is Saffronia


My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
My mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me?
My name is Sweet Thing
My name is Sweet Thing

My skin is brown

My manner is tough

I’ll kill the first mother I see

My life has been rough

I’m awfully bitter these days

‘Cause my parents were slaves

What do they call me?

My name is Peaches


The meaning behind the lyrics

The song describes the life of 4 different women:

Aunt Sarah

An older dark-skinned woman who’s strong and long-suffering.

Aunt Sarah is a symbol of the long-term physical and emotional suffering caused to African-Americans by enslavement. Some people claim that Aunt Sarah represents the archetype of “the mammy” – an offensive stereotype of a black woman who’s a cheerful, maternal type.


A mixed-race woman trapped between two worlds. Her story describes once again the suffering of the black race, this time by addressing how common it was for white men to rape enslaved black women.


Sweet Thing

Represents a young prostitute. She is perceived as property: She’s called “sweet thing”, she does not have a name. Moreover, her look makes her accepted by both black and white people, and anyone who has money can buy her.


a woman who feels the shadow of slavery over her head all her life. some fans believe that Peaches is an image of Simone herself—a woman finally reaching the boiling point, fed up and unwilling to take any more victimization.


Musical Description

Accompaniment instruments: piano, flute, electric guitar, and bass guitar.

The song is based on a simple groove-based melody, yet sounds somewhat strange, compared to the rest of Nina Simon’s music.

The song gradually builds in intensity as it progresses, from the submissive Aunt Sarah, through the conflicted Safforina and “Sweet Thing”,  and reaches a peak when Simone sings the story of the four-character: Peaches.

It is easy to hear Simone’s vocal becomes more passionate, cracking with emotion. Her steady piano playing becomes riotous. The song ends with Simone wailing, the name “Peaches”.



In order to understand the song and its impact, it is important to be familiar with the events that happened in the USA in the year it was releases.

  • The “Black Panther Party” officially formed.  A political organization that fought for equality and justice.
  • Stokely Carmichael, a prominent organizer in the civil rights movement, embraced the idea of Black Power in a speech.  the NAACP rejected those very ideas, Which deepened the rift between older, established activists and more militant young people.


Simone’s song “four women” was intended to give a voice to the suffering of African-Americans women. some listeners interpreted the song as racist, for being based on black stereotypes, and it was subsequently banned from several major radio stations.

In the test of time, Simon’s intention is understood, and the song got covered by different bands, used in movies, and even got sampled by Jay-Z in 2017 – 51 years after release.


“an instantly accessible analysis of the damning legacy of slavery, that made iconographic the real women we knew and would become.”

(from “The Village Voice” about “for women”)


About The Artist

Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon) was born in Tyron, North Carolina on 21th of February 1933. She was not only a talented musician, songwriter, and singer, but also a civil rights activist, who used her music to protest the racism against Afro-Americans.

Simone is an adored musician and an icon to this day. Many movies and books have been made about her life, and she has her music has influenced other great musicians such as Elton John and David Bowie, and probably still will in the future.

Four Women by Nina Simone by Daniel Bitton - Illustrated by Daniel Bitton -
This free e-book was created with

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