Zazie Beetz Grew Up With Shel Silverstein and Nina Simone
5. Nina Simone One of the first songs I consciously performed was hers and which had a very profound impact on me was “Four Women”. I remember hearing this for the first time and I was dancing to it. It’s not just about the music and it’s not just about the sound. This is the truth. You feel his pain and his human self. It’s also femininity and the strength of femininity and her unabashed approach to her blackness and what she represented in her time. Of course, there are other artists who do the same. But I don’t think Nina Simone makes it pretty, and that appeals to me.
6. “Zazie in the metro” My namesake is “Zazie dans le Métro”, which is a French book by Raymond Queneau, and [Louis Malle] made a movie of that. I grew up watching this movie. This film is about Paris relatively soon after WWII. The story is about a 10-year-old girl named Zazie who visits her uncle and aunt in Paris for the weekend, and shenanigans ensue. Even though I watched the German version, I still felt like I was her and it was me. I felt compelled to read my namesake and watch the film in its original language. So I was majoring in French at university and then I lived in Paris for a year.
7. “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” I am so obsessed with midwifery that I leaned into school. I wanted to be a doula. A few years ago David gave me this book for Christmas because I’m so interested in this transition and this total surrender of power in a way. I think women look death in the eye as you give birth to a little being who is still, in my perspective, attached to the universe. I’ve never given birth, so maybe I’m romanticizing it all, and it’s terrible. But I want to help women feel empowered in their journey.
8. Knit When I was 8, my mom taught me very basic stitches. For a long time, I was able to knit in only one style: the rectangle. Then four years ago, I took it seriously. I devoured YouTube videos and bought all these books and taught myself a trade and a trade. And now I’m like, “I learned a skill. I can do things that are useful to people. I took great pride in it.
9. Period clothing One of my most transformative moments as an actor is when I put on the costume. It informs the character so much. It changes the way they move, it changes the way they interact with the world and who they are. I am in love with the world of Jane Austen. One of my favorite films is “Marie Antoinette” by Sofia Coppola. And a big part of that is the costume and aesthetics of it all. On the red carpets, my hair inspiration is honestly Marie-Antoinette, and in my head it’s what my hair looks like – but obviously not what it looks like in real life.
ten. Lianne La Havas I discovered it when I was in college, and I felt that immediate kinship. She’s about the same age as me. She is also mixed race and her hair looked like mine. Back then, the natural hair movement in America was just starting to take its wings, and I identified so much with its looks. With each album that she releases, she has grown more and more, and I have grown in the same way. I feel this calm friend who I look like: “I know you. “
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