"Four Women" as written by and Nina Simone....
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

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
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 too rough
I'm awfully bitter these days
because my parents were slaves
What do they call me
My name is PEACHES



Lyrics submitted by Golgotha

"Four Women" as written by Nina Simone

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Four Women song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI think first the song is about the need for freedom in different ways.

    Verse 1 - Aunt Sarah
    My skin is black...My back is strong / Strong enough to take the pain / It's been inflicted again and again

    That is probably a reference to slavery and the post-slavery situation most blacks faced where only menial, laborious jobs coupled with little respect were available to them. "It's been inflicted again and again" means the pain is not only physical, but also emotional, and it manifests itself in different ways over different generations.

    -------------------------

    Verse 2 - Saffronia
    My skin is yellow / My hair is long / Between two worlds / I do belong / My father was rich and white / He forced my mother late one night

    I think the correct name is "Saffronia", not "Siffronia" as stated in the current lyrics.
    The name Saffronia would be a play on the word Saffron (the spice). When cooked, saffron gives food a golden-yellow hue. Her skin is yellow, so the Saffron reference is fitting.

    Saffronia also seeks freedom; as a person of mixed birth or mulatto, she is trapped between two worlds -- not quite black and not quite white, and is accepted by neither. Her birth was the result of her mother being forced, and therefore not being free ("My father was rich and white / He forced my mother late one night").

    -------------------------

    Verse 3 - Sweet Thing

    My hips invite you / And my lips are like wine / Whose little girl am I? / Well yours if you have some money to buy

    Sweet Thing is promiscuous and it might be said sexually liberal. In reality, however, she is in sexual slavery -- she is like property -- she "belongs" to whoever has enough money that night to "buy" her.

    -------------------------

    Verse 4 - Peaches

    Peaches (not "Egypt" as the lyrics state) looks around and sees how persons in her generation and also persons who came before her were treated.


    My manner is tough / I'll kill the first mother I see / Cos my life has been too rough / I'm awfully bitter these days / because my parents were slaves

    It's not that Peaches is an inherently violent person, but she must have a tough exterior to survive and overcome the treatment that is meted out on her. She still sees slavery in its many forms today and is bitter, because her parents (i.e. ancestors) were slaves, and that by virtue of that history and the color of her skin, she is basically relegated to that position today.

    -----------------------------

    Well, that's what I think. <3 Nina Simone
    stephanie elise~*
    steliseon April 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe last name isn't "egypt" it's "peaches."
    mOOdymellOwon October 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPeaches was actually a commonly used nickname for ANGRY BLACK WOMEN. I think Nina chracterises this well you can telll, the tone of the song does seem a bit 'angrier' now that I think about it. It also inspired a play I think.
    ramjamon September 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNina Simone was a very complex individual with an infinite depth of sensitivity to the environment she was born into...she was not simply an artist for art's sake. She was a very prominent activist who expressed the collective black experience in the United States with sometimes rough brush strokes through the lyrics of her song.

    I am not surprised if the lyrics of this song resonates to the core of any culturally aware individual of the human race like myself.

    I am a woman of color and some have referred to me as mullato. Not my favorite reference or description of myself.

    My only wish is that she were able to add verses for at least one or two more common shades of woman or color: 1) olive skin tone and 2) the just before you get to albino shade with freckles like an Irish woman or 3) the shade that some mullato women had that appears to reflect or camouflage their blackness so much that they stand front and center with their blackness invisible in the sea of white surrounding them.

    Chi-B
    Sapphire007on March 31, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is amazing. there's a black and white video on youtube.com of a live recording that you gotta see.
    and it's definitely "peaches." it's a feminine nickname.
    elfrijolon March 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song, Nina Simone was such an artist. I always thought the line was "my hips invite to daddies" rather than "invite you".
    In any case, I don't get the peaches thing. Anyone care to explain?
    myimaginarybandon December 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionEach woman represents a black female stereotype that has been well docuemented and written about by various authors.

    The Mammy
    The Tragic Mullato
    The Jezebel
    The Sapphire

    I think the names might have changed with the times, but evidence of these personality types are so pervasive in black culture that it makes it difficult for black women to be seen as anything other than symbols, not multifaceted human beings
    Katheraineon January 26, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis song sounds like it is all about women's liberation for all races and types of personalities and types of anything really. Sounds, all over the place, like Hilary Clinton, after President Obama, Nina Simone wants, to be President.
    beckdaveson December 24, 2015   Link

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