Rating: 8 of 10
A no-holds-barred look at one of the greatest singers/pianists to ever grace the world with her gifts.
Synopsis: “The documentary will incorporate previously unreleased audio recordings by Simone spanning three decades, plus rare archival footage and the artist’s most famous songs. “What Happened, Miss Simone?” will draw on more than 100 hours of recordings, telling her story largely in her own words, along with excerpts from her diaries and letters as well as interviews with Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, friends and collaborators.” (source)
My thoughts: One of my few (artistic) regrets is that I will never get to see Nina Simone perform live in concert. I daydream about how truly powerful that experience would have been. Before watching this documentary I had no clue as to her life story: family, upbringing, dreams, aspirations, training, tribulations, activism, or what happened to such a legendary figure after the spotlight had faded. And this film doesn’t pull any punches; hers is the portrait of a real Black woman growing up, honing a talent, succeeding, and struggling in an America plagued with rampant inequality based on race, gender, sexuality, class.
Highly recommended if you enjoy Nina’s music, read her autobiography, or simply want to learn more about the real woman behind ‘Nina Simone’.
(Watched on Netflix 1/31/2016)