We learned the sad news of the passing of Julia on September 29, reportedly from complications due to the Coronavirus.
A recording artist with a long-running stint at the popular D.C. supper club Mr. Henry’s, Nixon led the band Julia & Company for many years as the marquis act.
“Not only was she a long time entertainer and friend,” states the Mr. Henry’s Facebook page, “She was also our light, our playmate, and our diva! We will miss her presence greatly but will never forget her personality and legacy. Our hearts go out to all who loved her.”
A showstopper who brought audiences to their feet in the 2019 run of the political musical The Moment Was Now, Nixon portrayed the 19th Century poet, abolitionist and suffragist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. During an interview about her performance, Nixon confided that “living in Frances Harper’s skin” gave her new inspiration about Black women’s power then and now.
Songstress Nixon, herself a poet and playwright, enjoyed a four-year run on Broadway after the departure of Jennifer Holliday, playing Effie in Dreamgirls. Her four-octave range equipped her with the acumen to traverse musical genres including jazz, gospel, blues urban funk and musical theater. A child of the turbulent civil rights era, she was born in Robinson County, North Carolina, among the first wave of Black children to integrate the all-white elementary school.
Her career and extraordinary talents as an artist embodies the testimonial that Unerased is committed to affirming.
Rest in power, Dear Julia. You will be deeply missed but the resonance of your light and melodious voice will remind us of your greatness!
– Gwen McKinney
Nixon’s moving rendition of Not A Straw in the Way here (Compliments of Gene Bruskin/The Moment is Now):