What Happened….Miss Simone?

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As i sit on my living room sofa , i ponder the true meaning of being an artist. The sacrifice. The selflessness. The dedication. The talent. All things that make the greats, the greatest. But to view all of these traits and how they all came together inside of one so moving, so influential, it is a dare to anyone to call Nina Simone anything less…than great.
As her story unravels across my screen, from her beginnings as Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, to her end battling depression and bipolar disease, Nina Simone was always great. The film “What Happened Miss Simone?” captures all aspects of the singer’s life and career. Her goals to become the first black female to be a classical piano master, to be the first black female to play piano is Carnegie Hall, to be…great. They tell of her start as a club pianist and how she created the stage Nina Simone from a nickname her boyfriend gave her, because she knew her pastor mother would be mortified to know her daughter was playing the “devils music” in a bar. Simone was forced to sing in order to be original and maintain her $90 a night gig. From there she took off. Simone described her music as a “necessity” & not just a thing to do. She “needed to play, and needed money” so Simone combined both to generate a career that would move mountains beyond her minds expectation.
The film shows many of Simone’s performances , including her performance of “Little Liza Jane” where you can see the true satisfaction she had in her work with a slight smirk that breaks through her syncopated focus as she sings and bangs on the tambourine . “What Happened Miss Simone?” also shows her performance of “Mississippi Goddamn” both on stage and during the Selma march during the Civil Rights movement. The song is designated as Simone’s entry into the Civil Rights movement after the church bombing in Birmingham. Simone states that it was her influence that brought down her career due to her rebellious songs yet she is glad to call attention to the cause.
Although the film also focuses on the not so great moments of Simone’s life; the abusive marriage, the abuse to her daughter, the depression towards the end of the singers life, the story told, her story told , is one of great accomplishment and success. Nina Simon is the true definition of a conqueror . She came. She sang. She played. And her music will live on to show just how great…she is.


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