What Happened, Miss Simone?

What Happened, Miss Simone?

DVD - 2016
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A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the High Priestess of Soul. Includes a bonus CD of her works which features the classics I Loves You Porgy; Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out; I Put a Spell on You; and many more.
Publisher: [London] : Eagle Vision, [2016]
Branch Call Number: DVD-ED 782.4216 WHAT HA
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (approximately 116 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 audio disc (digital ; 4 3/4 in.)
video file,DVD video,region 0


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Feb 18, 2020

Moving, sad, beautifully put together documentary about Nina S, whose musical grandness is almost up to the level of Thelonious Monk's. (Plagued also by mental illness, like Monk--as I think Clint Eastwood's documentary about Monk makes clear)
At least on this DVD documentary she never plays an off note or misplaces a single emphasis. Every song she plays and sings drips with strong feeling, and her pianism is second to none (including more than mere allusions to JS Bach). Plus--like Baldwin, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and Dr King--she was politically light years ahead of the rest of us, albeit lapsing into excess by calling for the death of whites.
Her daughter, who co-produced this, apparently suffered abuse at Nina's hands just as Nina fell prey to her domineering ex-cop/manager husband. She's stunning: vulnerable, sweet and understanding.
Nina herself was not the prettiest bird in the tree, but musically she was perched way at the top. Strongly recommended for those of us who weren't all that familiar; she'll end up very hard to forget.

Oct 03, 2019

Holy fuck!!! (Sorry for cursing). Get ready for a wild ride. Beautiful and sad, joyous and gut-wrenching. Beyond your imagination unless you are of her calibre to know what she went through or what her life could possibly be like on her terms. Good luck!!! Excellent, well-made documentary. Praiseworthy. Peace.

Aug 12, 2019

Powerful documentary on a major musical genius Nina Simone. No documentary about any musician moved me as much as "What Happened, Ms. Simone". Trained at an early age to one day be the first black woman with a concert of classical piano music Carnegie Hall. Now that dream did come try, but not as a classical piano recital. In fact, it may have been an even bigger achievement when she did play Carnegie Hall. Can't tell you more than this for fear of spoiling a intriguing story of a very famous African American Musician that certainly left her mark in history!

Jan 26, 2019

Really really well done - interviews with her daughter, her ex-husband & musicians who were close to her - as well pages of her diaries - photos and film footage of the civil rights movement in the '60's - shows her private/personal life as a very vulnerable, insecure and angry person - and lots of music performances! what a voice!

Dec 01, 2018

Originally released in 2015, this 116-minute documentary delves into the life of Nina Simone.
Through tumultuous life events, she ended up with bipolar disorder in the late 1980s, then suffered from breast cancer for several years before she died in her sleep at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône on April 21, 2003.
Before I get this DVD, I didn't know her name but I remember the song she sings at the beginning of this movie.

Dec 23, 2017

This was a great bio-doc of the musician and activist who didn't just resort to some cheap cashing-in stunts and increasing her fame (like Beyonce does), Simone really spoke with her actions: she moved to Africa (specifically Liberia), and then to France. Her personal life was most horrible, but her music and voice were unique and powerful.

Aug 07, 2017

Amazing talent who might well be the best piano singer ever, and yes, she was a black woman who apparently had zero formal singing lessons (could be wrong but that's how I got from the film.) She was also a song writer, social activist, entertainer and spoke several languages, at least rudimentarily. Besides the music, great insight into being a black woman during the civil rights movement era. And Oh boy! there was a 2nd disc, a music CD, like the greatest hits by Simone, 15 tunes and all that included "Strange Fruit," "Mississippi Goddam," "Little Girl Blue," "I Love You, Porgy," "Lilac Wine," "Ne Me Quitte Pas (Do not leave me)" ... etc!!!

Feb 28, 2017

WOW This is good.

Feb 10, 2017

Nina Simone's story is incredibly relevant for our times and her personal experience as explored in this generally excellent documentary gives a deeper perspective on her moving, powerful, soul-baring music.

ArapahoeHanna Dec 13, 2016

This documentary was a fascinating look into Nina Simone's life beyond the music. Nina sang with power and passion, Nina is most known for her voice it was and is a one in a million voice that pulled listeners not only into her songs but into the emotions she emoted while singing. Her personal life is the main subject in this documentary and it is a troubled one that gives you a peek into what life events caused the emotions portrayed in song of one of the greatest jazz, blues, folk, soul, gospel and R&B singers of all time.

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Aug 07, 2017

As I got older, I started to look at her and I thought to myself,
"Wow, she's from another time!" But she was not at odds with the times. The times was at odds with her. I think when a person moves to their own kind of clock, spirit, flow, if we were living in an environment that allowed us to be exactly who we are, you're always in congress with yourself. The challenge is, "How do we fit in in the world that we're around, but we... Are we allowed to be exactly who we are? Was Nina Simone allowed to be exactly who she was?" As fragile as she was strong, as vulnerable as she was dynamic, she was African royalty. How does royalty stomp around in the mud and still walk with grace?

Aug 07, 2017

I remember my dad complaining about the fact that she never stopped speaking out, but that's who she was. It was okay when you were onstage. It's okay 'cause you let it all hang out, and then when the show ends and the lights go out, "Okay, let's put the monkey back in the cage, and eat your banana and, you know, just behave yourself."
I can't sit here and speak about Aunt Nina and Uncle Andy's marriage. What I can say is that participation and activism during the '60s... rendered chaos in any individual's lives. People sacrificed sanity, well-being, life. Nina Simone was a free spirit in an era that didn't really appreciate a woman's genius. So what does that do to a household and a family? Not because of income, but because of your soul not being able to do what you need to do.

Aug 07, 2017

Nina was a real rebel. She didn't really fit in the revolutionary black female role that was offered her. She could avoid pretentious phoniness and get more depth out of a song than people are used to hearing out of those songs. She was a kind of patron saint of the rebellion. Nina started to get more aggressive. I remember one time as she walked right up to Dr. King and said, "I'm not non-violent!" And he said, "That's okay, sister. You don't have to be."
Miss Simone says something very significant in her song "Mississippi Goddam." She says, "This country..." She says, "This country is built on lies." You're gonna sit in front of your television set and listen to LBJ tell you that, "Violence never accomplishes anything, my fellow Americans." And the honky drafting you out of school to go fight in Vietnam.

Aug 07, 2017

When I first got into show business, I wasn't a blues singer and I wasn't even a jazz singer. I was a classical pianist. I studied to become the first black classical pianist in America, and that's all that was on my mind.
Lorraine Hansberry was my best friend, and she wrote plays, Raisin in the Sun and Young, Gifted, and Black. She taught me a lot about Karl Marx, Lenin, philosophy. The basic fabric of our society that has Negroes in the situation that they are in is the thing which must be changed, you know.
We don't even have the pride and the dignity of African people, but we can't even talk about where we came from. We don't know. It's like a lost race.

Aug 07, 2017

What's "free" to you, Nina?
- What's "free" to me?
- Same thing it is to you. You tell me.
No, no, you tell me.
- I don't know. It's just a feeling. It's just a feeling. It's like, "How do you tell somebody how it feels to be in love?" How are you going to tell anybody who has not been in love how it feels to be in love?
You cannot do it to save your life. You can describe things but you can't tell them, but you know it when it happens. That's what I mean by "free." I've had a couple of times onstage when I really felt free, and that's something else. That's really something else!
Like, all... all... Like... like... I'll tell you what freedom is to me, no fear. I mean, really, no fear. If I could have that half of my life, no fear.
She didn't want to return to what she called, "The United Snakes of America."
Most people are afraid to be as honest as she lived.


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