The naked female body is treated so weirdly in society. It's like people are constantly begging to see it, but once they do, someone's a hoe.
It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it. Carry it by the comfortable handles of gratitude for what's positive and that it is not worse, rather than the uncomfortable edges of bitterness for the negatives and that it is not better.
Don't be afraid to feel as angry or as loving as you can, because when you feel nothing, it's just death.
You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way.
A little nepotism never hurt nobody, honey. If you got it, use it. Press on with it. Remind them of it.
Always be smarter than the people who hire you.
Malcolm X made me very strong at a time I needed to understand what I was angry about. He had peace in his heart. He exerted a big influence on me.
You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way. But the slanting process is so subtle that you frequently don't realize how you're being slanted until very late in the game.
The best thing about living... Is the chance to keep on doing it!
My identity is very clear to me now, I am a black woman.
I found out along the way that they like you a little imperfect.
I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept. I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.
I'm me, and I'm like nobody else.
You wouldn't be allowed to get on a particular bus, but you'd be asked to sign your autograph.
I'm not alone, I'm free. I no longer have to be a credit, I don't have to be a symbol to anybody; I don't have to be a first to anybody.
I learned from Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, Adelaide Hall, the Nicholas Brothers, the whole thing, the whole schmear. [The Cotton Club] was a great place because it hired us, for one thing, at a time when it was really rough [for Black performers].
I want to sing like Aretha Franklin. Before her I wanted the technical ability of Ella Fitzgerald.
music became my refuge and then my salvation.
It's so nice to get flowers while you can still smell the fragrance.
I don't have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I'd become. I'm me, and I'm like nobody else.
It's ill-becoming for an old broad to sing about how bad she wants it. But occasionally we do.
I remember the day tDr. King died. I wasn't angry at the beginning. It was like something very personal in my life had been touched and finished.
As much as I try, when I open my mouth, Lena comes out, And I get so mad.
I'm still learning, you know. At 80, I feel there is a lot I don't know.
I made a promise to myself to be kinder to other people.
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