Nina Simone was the first of the soul divas, and the most spectacular. Before Aretha Franklin, before Diana Ross, she established herself as a performer whose talent was matched only by her refusal to accept compromise. A classically trained prodigy, she brought her gift to bear on the whole sweep of African-American music, and much more besides. She refused to stand still but pushed ahead into an engagement with the blues, gospel, folk songs and even rock and roll, but just as she was becoming acclaimed by the rock audience the course of her career veered away from the safe, conventional paths into an engagement with black consciouness. her long involvement with the movement included a friendship with the black power leader Stokely Carmichael, and time spent in Africa. She remains a performer of compelling magnetism.