Before watching the Netflix documentary ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’ I’ll admit I didn’t know too much about the singer song-writer Nina Simone. For example I didn’t know that she was a classically trained pianist who started playing at the age of four. I also didn’t know how her career unfolded in the later years of her life.
One of the first lines in the film that Nina said which stood out to me and was a foreshadowing of what the documentary would slowly reveal as the ethos of Nina’s life was ‘Freedom to me is no fear.” She was conducting an interview and the reporter asked her about freedom. The way her eyes lit up and how animated she became when she spoke about it is something that clung with me as I watched her story unravel on screen.
Other enthralling moments for me were her performances. She could perform a song with such stillness then switch into a livelier and jovial performance for a next song with such an ease. All the while with a voice like molasses. The baritone in her voice, to me spelled a dense story behind each note. It had me wishing that I had seen her live when she was around, because that level of artistry is rare now.
I don’t want to give too much away because I highly recommend checking out this documentary but the greatest take away for me from this documentary is that I wish we celebrated such genius artists while they were still here and not only after they’ve left us.