by Liz Hainsworth | Photos by Press
“I have to live with Nina, and that is very difficult” - Nina Simone
“I studied to become the first black classical pianist in America…I like Bach”, says a young Nina Simone, born Eunice Waymon in a deeply racially divided southeastern America. “When I first started to take lessons I became terribly aware of how isolated I was from the other children, from the white community and the negro community”, she explains with a pained but matter of fact tone.
What Happened, Miss Simone? takes us on a journey through an iconic woman’s search for emancipation from the many oppressions. In 1965, she seized her opportunity to vent her deep-seated anger with fortitude, becoming a key revolutionary from the Selma civil rights march onwards, musically and lyrically. “It was good to be needed, not for classical music or popular music, but civil rights music.”
Dually narrated by Nina Simone herself through archive interviews, and song lyrics in only her fluxing tonal waves, contrasted by the calm and smoothing voice of her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, only added to by corner stone figures in Simone’s life. Needless to say, the soundtrack for the film is unsurpassable, featuring the effortless excellence of Simone’s razor sharp musicality.
- What Happened, Miss Simone? Is available to watch now on Netflix