My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is woolly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
Inflicted again and again
What do they call me?
My name is Aunt Sarah
My name is Aunt Sarah
Aunt Sarah

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
But my father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
And what do they call me?
My name is Saffronia
My name is Saffronia

My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
My mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me?
My name is Sweet Thing
My name is Sweet Thing

My skin is brown
My manner is tough
I’ll kill the first mother I see!
My life has been rough
I’m awfully bitter these days
Because my parents were slaves
What do they call me?
My name is Peaches!

Written by Nina Simone, “Four Women” was released in 1966 on her album Wild is the Wind. In the song, she creates a genealogy of black women through slavery to the present. Four characters, Aunt Sarah, Saffronia, Sweet Thing, and Peaches represent different types of black women and the lasting legacy of slavery.

Though each woman speaks for herself, she describes her physical traits and the way she is seen and treated in society, and what “they” call her.

Tahsin Ünlü

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