ByPaula Lemos, writer at
22. Brazilian. Advertising student. Frustrated script writer. Loves beaches, sun, music, movies, books, fashion and cooking/eating.

said Eunice Kathleen Waymon once about her other self, Miss Simone.

Born in times when racism was really strong, Eunice was able to have training in classical music, which developed in her the amazing skills she already had. She had a different beginning in life from the other African American kids that lived in her neighborhood. She had an opportunity that was later spoiled by prejudice.

But from the lack of opportunity to continue following her dreams of playing Mozart at Carnegie Hall, Eunice became Nina. And Nina became such a star herself couldn’t ever bare.

Nina became more political when those innocent kids were brutally assassinated in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and from that day decided to follow the steps of Martin Luther King – and Malcolm X – in the battle for the Civil Rights more actively.

"I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved."

At the time, she was married to Andrew, a brutal man that used to beat her up, rape and insult her and that turned Nina Simone into a huge mess that she couldn’t handle by herself. She suffered from a pain created inside her own house, she suffered from the pain Black people suffered at the time (and still do, as you can read in this interesting article about Ferguson – while the editing of Nina’s documentary).

But what happened, Miss Simone? Specifically, what happened to your big eyes that quickly veil to hide the loneliness? To your voice that has so little tenderness, yet flows with your commitment to the battle of Life? What happened to you?

45 years ago Maya Angelou dropped this question to Nina, when the answer was so attached to the facts that she was a woman, an African American, a mother, a wife, an abused woman, a genius, living in the 60’s in a place where racism was still so brazen.

“What Happened, Miss Simone” is touching, astonishing I would say, the parts of her diary being read out loud is just amazing and sad, but the fact of having Andrew (the ex-husband and abuser) being interviewed and confirming the aggressions and the part that he says something like “after a week I’ve beaten her there was no scar” like he was so good he didn’t do any more harm when he could. Well, that, I just can’t stand.

I would have given it a 10/10 score if the documentary stood only with Nina’s words in her diary and the words from the people who did not assault her and also if the movie told us more (something) about the creative process of Nina.

There’s much more of Nina/Eunice than the hour and half this movie had, but it can give you a good idea about how genius, prejudice and aggression can [almost] destroy lives.

She was yet really strong, revived the genius musician inside herself in the 80’s and died of breast cancer, not from depression.

Makes me wonder how many times "Feeling Good" (one of her biggest hits) was true to the life she had.

Makes me wonder how many times "Feeling Good" (one of her biggest hits) was true to the life she had.


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