“What Happened, Miss Simone?”

brianna suslovic

1565728286_11fd541251_oIt is an artist’s duty to reflect the times. — Nina Simone

[content warning: discussions of mental illness and domestic violence/intimate partner violence]

Nina Simone is a brilliantly complex and under-appreciated woman and artist, and Netflix has tried to deconstruct the pieces of her identity with a new documentary titled “What Happened, Miss Simone?”

Especially in a time when actress Viola Davis was recently called “less classically beautiful” by the New York Times, I believe that Nina Simone’s story has much to offer us, starting with her introduction to music and moving through to her political involvement.

The documentary begins with a clip of Nina performing “Little Girl Blue,” one of those songs that brings tears to your eyes for no apparent reason, interspersing classical themes of “Good King Wenceslas” with her melancholy, sighing voice. In these first few moments, my heart was already swelling for this…

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