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“Most people are afraid to be as honest as she lived.”

A documentary about the legendary musician and activist Nina Simone.

Nina Simone was a brilliant performer, a revolutionary voice, and a bold spirited woman whose life took a most unique path through the music industry and Civil Rights movement in the twentieth century United States.

Watch concert footage and interviews with both Nina Simone, her family members and close friends to get a look at the emotional story of the famed pianist and singer.

Nina Simone’s captivating appeal as a musician is hard to describe. Her sound is both dreamy and physical, fragile and strong, blending classical discipline with an ethereal voice and honest, direct passion.

Her piano playing is influenced by classical music, soul, blues and jazz among others. Her strongest motivation was to become the first Black woman classical pianist to play Carnegie Hall. That would be what would make her happy, she declared.

Some of the main topics in this film include:

  • Introduction to classical music at a young age
  • How she got her name
  • Her relationship with her husband and manager Andy Stroud
  • Nina’s involvement in the Civil Rights movement
  • Depression, anger and mental health
  • Her moves to Africa and Europe and her career late in life

“What I was interested in doing was conveying an emotional message, which means using everything you’ve got inside you sometimes to barely make a note. If you have the strength to sing, you sing. So sometimes I sound like gravel, and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream.”

Nina Simone Spotify playlist

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) Documentary, Biography, Music | 1h 41min | 24 June 2015 (USA) 7.6
Director: Liz GarbusStars: Nina Simone, Lisa Simone Kelly, Roger NupieSummary: On stage Nina Simone was known for her utterly free, uninhibited musical expression, which enthralled audiences and attracted life-long fans. But amid the violent, haunting, and senseless day-to-day of the civil rights era in 1960s America, Simone struggled to reconcile her artistic identity and ambition with her devotion to a movement. Culled from hours of autobiographical tapes, this new film unveils the unmitigated ego of a brilliant artist and the absurdities of her time. At the height of her fame Simone walked away from her family, country, career and fans, to move to Liberia and give up performing. The story of her life leading up to that event poses the question, 'how does royalty stomp around in the mud and still walk with grace?'

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