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?'
"What Happened, Miss Simone?" pulls you right into the life of the little girl, Eunice Waymon, who becomes Nina Simone. Through skillful use of archival audio and film, interviews and other contextual materials, and clearly with a genuine appreciation and love for the subject, Liz Garbus has found the thread that strings all of this material together; the genius and passion of a driven artist. Hearing the familiar songs with their stories, and learning about Nina's life journey, all somehow fits powerfully with contemporary racial issues in the US. This film can serve to educate, and inspire, as we continue to navigate the tortuous path to justice. Thank you for making this film, and bringing Nina Simone to even more people.
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