An intimate look into the life of icon Quincy Jones. A unique force in music and popular culture for 70 years, Jones has transcended racial and cultural boundaries; his story is inextricably woven into the fabric of America.
Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.
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?'
The telling of Nina's story through the words of her family and old footage from her as well is truly moving and unsettling. I felt the closing in of the events that lead to her fame, fall, and fatality. It seems as if everyone was affected by the power of her illness which was fueled by the times. I am not sure if one accelerated the other. Growing up in the south and traveling all over the world does something to you. You become enlightened and the junk that was going on in the US over race was ludicrous and enraging. I am not sure if I could deal with that back then either. Nina was truly ahead of her time but got stuck in time due to the violence of those times. I love the way she expressed her disdain for the instrument of her fame and I also loved the attitude she had about her own voice. I grew up listening to this strange voice and at first I could not figure out if it was a man or woman until further into the album. This documentary is a timely tribute to the singer and it also allowed us to see what she was going through and why she fell off the face of the earth for a while. I look at her from a different pair of eyes now and I am grateful to know her story.
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