Looking Past The Nonsense & Into YouTube's Revolutionary Soul: Nina Simone, Otis Redding & Curtis Mayfield

YouTube is a hell of a time waster, but that doesn't mean that everything on the site is a waste of time, far from it.  Amongst the millions of videos -- many consisting of young women (filming themselves) doing the 'pussy pop,' kittens play fighting, and everyone and your brother offering ill-formed opinions on the topic of the day -- there exist a few that stand the test of time, often because the experience they've been informed by and the emotions they convey are still with us today.  And then we heard a great voice shout over the divide of 40+ years "...AND EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT MISSISSIPPIGODDAM."

Nina Simone's 'Missisippi Goddam' begins cheerfully; on the recording she sarcastically introduces the song calling it "a show tune" but saying that, "the show hasn't been written for it yet."  A lengthy essay could be written just on the intensity in Simone's gaze as she sings the song, which rails against the the common argument that civil rights activists and black Americans should "go slow" when trying to make changes in the United States.  In this truly incredible live performance from the 60's Simone sings to a crowd of white faces "you lied to me all these years / you told me to wash and clean my ears / and talk real fine, just like a lady /...oh but my country is full of lies / we're all gonna die and die like flies / I don't trust nobody anymore, if you keep on saying 'go slow." 

In December 1967, after only seven years of recording, the soulful Otis Redding lay dead at the bottom of a lake in Minnesota where the small plane he was aboard crashed.  Redding, who hadn't yet released his most well know track, 'Sitting On the Dock of a Bay,' was just 26 years old.  In this live 1967 performance from his European tour Redding intensely and passionately works the crowd and himself into emotional overflow as he sings 'Try a Little Tenderness,' complete with a short encore. 

With The Impressions, Curtis Mayfield recorded tracks like 'Keep on Pushing,' 'People Get Ready,' and 'We're a Winner', the last of which became a black power anthem when it was released in 1967. As a solo artist Mayfield went on to record tracks like 'Freddie's Dead' and 'Super Fly;' both found mainstream succsess, although Mayfield's lyrics continued to consist of serious commentaries addressing the state of affairs in black AmericaIn this classic live footage (complete with montage) from the 1972 Save the Children benefit concert in Chicago, Mayfield asks "we people, who are darker than blue, are we going to stand around this town and let what others say come true?"  As he goes on Mayfield asks for your love, and I'm sure you'll give it, willingly.