What Happened, Miss Simone? Netflix will be answering that question in a documentary of the same name based on the life of Nina Simone, also known as the “High Priestess of Soul.”
The story, which will be directed by the Oscar-nominated Liz Garbus, will follow the singer’s life through a series of previously unheard interviews, reports Engadget. It will also feature other content, like concert videos, diaries, and letters.
Simone was trained in classical music, and actually wanted to be a concert pianist. But after being denied a scholarship, she decided to shift her stylings to the soul, jazz, R&B, and blues genres, much to many fans’ delights. She believed that the scholarship denial was based on the fact that she was African American, which fueled her passion to fight for equal rights.
Her strong stance on African American rights continued through her life. Aside from being a musician, Simone was also an activist who fought for civil rights, both through her music and in speaking at demonstrations, like the Selma to Montgomery marches that prompted the 1965 Voting Rights Act to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. Her actions, however, were sometimes considered controversial – she was in favor of a violent revolution.
That said, her music clearly spoke to fans – she won 15 Grammys throughout her career, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000. She passed away at the age of 70 in 2003 after a battle with breast cancer.
Netflix promises the documentary will take a true, no-holds-barred look at Simone’s life. This will likely include, in addition to highlighting her musical talents and civil rights activism, a deeper look at her propensity to violent action, and diagnosis in the ‘80s of bipolar disorder.
Coincidentally, a Hollywood biopic about Simone’s life is also planned for some time next year, starring Zoe Saldana as Simone. Netflix’s film reportedly has the support of Simone’s family, while the Hollywood-ized version does not. It’ll be interesting to see how the two differ.
Image via: Wikipedia
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