The Nina Simone documentary entitled What Happened, Miss Simone? will make its Netflix premiere on June 26th. The Liz Garbus film chronicles the life of the legendary singer, which includes unreleased recordings and rare footage of Simone. The documentary will also make its rounds in the film festival circuit. What Happened, Miss Simone? made its Sundance Film Festival debut in January. During its time at Sundance, the documentary was accompanied by a concert that celebrated Simone’s iconic career. The tribute featured performances by John Legend, Aloe Blacc, Common, and more. The film’s next stop will be the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, which will run from April 23rd through May 3rd.
Nina Simone was a pianist, singer, and a civil rights activist. Her legendary career dates all the way back to 1958, which is the year her debut album Little Girl Blue was released. Simone would continue to release albums throughout her career, which spans decades. Before the icon died in 2003, she dropped more than forty projects including The Amazing Nina Simone, Forbidden Fruit, I Put a Spell on You, Pastel Blues, To Love Somebody, Here Comes the Sun, and Fodder on My Wings. Some of Simone’s most recognizable songs include “I Loves You, Porgy,” “Trouble In Mind,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” “I Put a Spell on You,” “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” and “Feeling Good.”
Nina Simone’s music and activism has had a profound influence on several musicians today. Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Talib Kweli, Lana Del Rey, Bono, Mos Def, John Legend, Christina Aguilera, and countless others have all stated that their music is influenced by Nina Simone. While some people may be unfamiliar with Simone’s legacy, there is a strong possibility you heard her music without knowing it. Her songs have been sampled by dozens of producers and artists including Timbaland, Talib Kweli, Kanye West, and more. West sampled Simone’s “See-Line Woman” on his “Bad News” song (808s & Heartbreak album), and Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” was sampled on Lil Wayne‘s “Don’t Get It” from his Tha Carter III album.
The jazz singer was nominated for fifteen Grammy Awards, and she received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for “I Loves You, Porgy.” The North Carolina native was also inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall in 2009. A Nina Simone statue in her honor stands tall in her birthplace of Tyron, North Carolina as well.
FDRMX Eyes: Vee Miyagi is a hip-hop artist from Chicago. Miyagi has released his music video entitled “One.”