abbeypic1

Remembering Abbey Lincoln

Today,  jazz singer, actress and lifelong activist Abbey Lincoln died in her New York home at the age of 80. Known for her jazz classics such as “Afro Blue,” “Brother Where Are You,” “Throw It Away,” and my favorite—her legendary project with her then husband Max Roach “We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite,” which has been often called the first protest album. Full of shouts, riotous drums and clenching melodies, Abbey was definitely the first girl to scream on a track. Sorry Kelis.

Known for her personal politics and resistance to the status quo, she also was a talented actress, remember her teaching the young Bleek Gilliam in Mo’ Betta Blues? But for me, Abbey was more than a performer. She was a symbol. A living testament that women, especially black women, did not have to be bound by geography, politics or society’s wishes. She came and went as she pleased, always spoke her mind and always did things her own way, even if it meant abandoning stardom in order to gain personal peace.

Rest In Peace Abbey – love Parlour

To learn more about Ms. Lincoln, click here and here. Check out some of her performance and songs:

“Freedom Day” | from the Freedom Now Suite w/ Max Roach


“Throw It Away”

“Afro Blue”

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington

  • I remember Abbey Lincoln as an actress rather than a singer. When I was in college, I saw her playing the leading roles in the films, “For The Love of Ivy” and “Nothing But A Man”. She once said that she didn’t care much for acting, but had the chops to become a great actress.