On July 1, 2019, the National Trust announced a crowdfunding campaign through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to support the restoration and preservation of Nina Simone's childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. This campaign, supported by artists, actors, and musicians including John Legend, will raise funds integral to the exterior restoration of the home where the celebrated singer, pianist and Civil Rights icon’s story began. The home, which has fallen into disrepair requiring urgent revitalization, was designated a National Treasure in June of 2018.
"Spaces devoted to the history and legacy of people of color, especially women of color, are far too few in America today,” said Legend. “Preserving places like the Nina Simone childhood home will help keep her powerful story alive. This campaign pays tribute to Nina Simone’s unapologetic pursuit of musical, personal, and political freedom and I am proud to be a part of it."
The National Trust’s crowdfunding campaign will run on IndieGoGo, beginning today, giving the public an opportunity to make donations to this effort, and to purchase newly designed Nina Simone-inspired merchandise including T-shirts, artist prints, pins, and postcards with artwork by Dare Coulter, a North Carolina-based artist working to create positive imagery of people of color.
The campaign will also include the option to acquire additional merchandise donated by musicians including Talib Kweli and Yusef/Cat Stevens, and actors Mahershala Ali and Issa Rae.
“With more than 40 albums over five decades, Nina Simone is one of the most acclaimed singers of all time,” said Neil Portnow, Recording Academy President/CEO. “The Recording Academy has honored her legacy through the GRAMMY Hall of Fame and with a Lifetime Achievement Award, both accolades very much deserved. I’m thrilled to know that her talent will continue to live on through the preservation of her childhood home where her artistic journey began.”
On July 4-6, 2019, the National Trust is bringing the Nina Simone Crowdfunding campaign to the 25th annual Essence Festival, where attendees can claim exclusive perks and learn more about this National Treasure.