Sunday, December 16, 2018

What Do They Call Me?

"Four Women" is written and recorded by the artist Nina Simone from her album Wild Is the Wind. The song was recorded in 1965 and released in 1966. This song is about the depictions of four women with different skin tones and stereotypes. The women depicted in this song are based off of real women. The song also dates back to the slave era where these stereotypes originated. The speakers in this song are four different African American females. The audience are African American women who relate to the descriptions and stereotypes in this song. T

he main use of imagery really brings out the poetic side of the song by creating a stereotypical picture of each women. The use of imagery and first person throughout the whole song also communicates experience for those who actually live with these descriptions and stereotypes. The lyrics of the song would be divided into four stanzas, one for each woman depicted. The first line in each stanza starts out with a woman stating, "My skin is..." to kick off the description of that woman. The women would go on to describe themselves including, "My hair is long", "My manner is tough", and "My hips invite you" Each stanza is directed to a specific type of woman, creates a specific image for them, and conveys a specific experience that they can possibly relate to which will pull in the African American female audience. They will feel like the song is written about them because, poetically, it is written about them. The song written and sang in first person adds on to the personal feel of the it.

Even if some African American females have not experienced these stereotypes, they can feel the experience of those who have because the first person supports the song being for all African American women. The stanzas end with the question, "What do they call me", "they", meaning those who create and believe in the stereotypes, followed by the names, "Aunt Sarah", "Saffronia", "Sweet Thing", and "Peaches". The names in the song add an emotional dimension to the song by providing an unwanted symbol from those who branded them with it to the women who "fit the description". There is a personal connection with those names and the description behind them to the women who represent them making the audience feel emotionally attached to the song. A song with the capability to be directed to people with the use imagery and first person, communicating experiences, and creating an emotional dimension should be considered a fantastic poem.

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