I just watched an absolutely terrific film!
Ok, let me back up just a bit…
There’s a singer we all know as the “High Priestess of Soul”, right? How about songs like I Loves You Porgy and Mississippi Goddam, and her gut-wrenching version of Strange Fruit. We even know of her daughter’s album and the rough time she faced growing up with a superstar mother. But wow, I had no idea… and learned so much!
Daughter, Lisa Simone
I have stated before that I am a nut for autobiographies and biographies, particularly of jazz musicians, because they performed an extreme cross-over genre during a time when racial tensions were prominent, in your face, and one could not mask the racism as they can these days. These artists played a role of double standard and identity, suffered overt and covert abuse, and endured grand doses of isolation.
And so we fast forward back to present day. Netflix has backed a documentary on one of the most amazing performers in history, Eunice Kathleen Waymon, known to us as the all-time great Nina Simone. They call it What Happened, Miss Simone? – taken from the 1970 Redbook article written by Ancestor Maya Angelou.
“The risk of making a documentary of a towering artist is that, by explaining her, you only end up diminishing her. Not Nina Simone—not this time. In Liz Garbus’s telling, Simone’s talent and personality shine through, as gloriously singular, and uncontrollable, as ever.” – Michael Hogan, Vanity Fair
This is a must-see. A++ It is available exclusively on Netflix. Trust me, I tried to purchase it for the library and unfortunately it is not on DVD yet!
Watch the trailer below and begin to understand the weight and depth of this story.
I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
P.S. Perhaps I stand corrected on my previous post on the Artistry on Erykah Badu. Check the “Artistry” of Miss Simone.