I have a problem with this. “This” being a musical interlude setting a particular tone for the Masters Tournament beginning this morning at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
So here we have a Nina Simone ballad, “Feeling Good”, playing while a mosaic of players and past champions is paraded by. At the very least it is 90 seconds of irony. At most it is an in-your-face indictment on the institutionalized antebellum racism which permeates “Suthun so-sigh-ity”.
Augusta National Golf Club has a tradition of racism since it opened in 1933.
Nina Simone was a civil rights activist.
Augusta National Golf Club co-founder Clifford Roberts once said, “As long as I’m alive, all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black”.
One of Nina Simone’s first piano recitals was attended by her parents, who were seated in the front row. Well, until they were ordered to move back to make those seats available to whites.
Augusta National Golf refused non-white membership until 1990, and no women members until 2012.
Simone addressed racial inequality in her performance of “Mississippi Goddam” after the murder of Medgar Evans and the Birmingham, AL church bombing which killed 4 young black girls.
Augusta National micro-manages every aspect of their “brand”, and no broadcaster is allowed to be anything but a mouthpiece promoting their image.
So I have to ask, who thought this Simone/Masters pairing was appropriate? The name of the tournament itself, “The Masters”, coupled with its racist history would be comical if it wasn’t so sick. I’d also ask, who was authorized to sell the rights to Simone’s song & voice and was it specifically for The Masters? Or did some network corporation swindle her estate and is using this via some loop-hole?
Even with how little I know about Nina Simone, I do not believe she would ever approve of her singing used to set some dreamy tone to the golf tournament from a club which has to be dragged kicking and screaming into modernity, while preserving their “beloved” yet repulsive “tradition”.