“Most people are afraid to be as honest as she lived,” says Lisa Simone Kelly, daughter of jazz legend Nina Simone.
“People think that when she went out on stage, she became Nina Simone,” Kelly recalls in the first trailer for Oscar-nominated documentarian Liz Garbus’ “What Happened, Miss Simone?” “My mother was Nina Simone 24/7,” Kelly clarifies. “And that’s where it became a problem.”
Simone’s brilliance and self-destructive tendencies are on display in the spot, which showcases the singer’s extraordinary stage presence and inimitable voice.
After a world premiere at Sundance and a screening at the Berlinale, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” will become available on Netflix on June 26. (The documentary is a completely different endeavor from “Nina,” director Cynthia Mort’s biopic starring Zoe Saldana.)
In an interview with Women and Hollywood, Garbus said of her documentary, “It is a film about the amazing life and music of Nina Simone. Nina Simone was a musical genius who never fully got her due, with a little-understood path to fame and a personal life strained by the exigencies of extraordinary times and her own nascent mental illness. But the film is a celebration of her genius and tenacity, without apology. It is structured as a musical; every song is intrinsically intertwined with the narrative.”