What Happened Miss Simone?
Nina Simone was a legend. We already know that. The Netflix documentary ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’ shows us the other side to the star. The tired, depressed, passionate and powerful woman, who would to stop at nothing for the rights of black people.
A musical genius and a civil rights activist, Nina Simone’s political beliefs helped her write some of the most daring and courageous songs anyone of the era had heard, including “Mississippi Goddam” and “To be Young, Gifted and Black”.
The documentary is nearly two hours of insight into the incredible woman’s life through rarely seen footage and audio samples of Nina Simone on her life’s journey with music, politics, family, domestic violence and mental illness.
The film covers her early career and marriage to her husband who also became her manager, which appeared to be the happier years in her life.
Through the footage and audio we see a more and more disgruntled Nina Simone, and we watch as she goes from a huge music star to a civil rights activist who couldn’t get her political songs aired.
Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, was the executive producer of the documentary, and is also interviewed throughout the film, where she opens up about her life as a child and growing up around civil rights activists like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
Kelly also discusses her mother’s mental illness and the effect it had on her, revealing that after Simone escaped an abusive relationship “She went from being my comfort to the monster in my life… now she was the person doing the beating, and she was beating me.”
‘What Happened Miss Simone’ is the closest we’ll ever get to knowing the real Nina Simone, her genius and inner turmoil, her political beliefs and personal life, and how she lived to the end of her days.
The documentary is currently available on Netflix.