New Writer Welcome: Nia Simone

Please join the COA family in welcoming our newest writer, Nia Simone! Nia’s bio will be available shortly on our About page. Subscribe to COA so you don’t miss her upcoming debut piece ‘Here Comes the Sun.’

Q: Your name seems either to be an homage, or a real giant coincidence. Nina Simone was a talented, outspoken, incomparable figure in her time. And a legend in ours. What sort of influence has she had on you?

I like to call her my kinda-sorta-maybe namesake. If Kwanzaa didn’t have a principle named “Nia”, I probably would have been named after her. She’s dope; she’s the ultimate innovator. One thing that I’ve learned from her is how to have the courage to be yourself in a world that would rather you fit into a mold of what an “acceptable” woman should be. Even though she dealt with a lot of self-hate and racial discrimination, she eventually grew to who she was destined to be and was dedicated to living her truth. I’m dedicated to that as well; living my truth. I hope that one day I’ll influence a girl that had the same insecurities I had to have that epiphany; that it’s okay to accept themselves. I just hope that one day they’ll do her biopic right because she deserves to have her story told the right way.
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Are they wall or safeguard, these mountains? Las Vegas Reflections; Photo by author.

Las Vegas Reflections

Las Vegas Reflections is Emmie Strickland’s second piece for Cult of Americana

I spent 2016 living in a place beyond my wildest of dreams. I moved to Las Vegas hesitantly, sure that I would despise residing in the valley of flooding selfishness and greed. However, I soon encountered the unexpected undertow that Las Vegas has; an intriguing, Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole effect that steered me away from my preconceived ignorance about it. It’s the veiled true beauty of a city who constantly is painting herself with more and more outrageous makeup, and I got to see it. Then, I fell under its mysterious charm.

Most travelers who make their way to this carved out valley of pleasures of the flesh don’t make it past The Strip. Like a field of tranquilizing poppies, the throng of bright colors and lights, and the promises of a good time ensnare the majority Vegas’ guests, ensuring that they don’t see beyond the glittering hotel rooftops. Continue reading