What Happened, Miss Simone?

Synopsis: On stage Nina Simone was known for her utterly free, uninhibited musical expression, which enthralled audiences and attracted life-long fans. But amid the violent, haunting, and senseless day-to-day of the civil rights era in 1960s America, Simone struggled to reconcile her artistic identity and ambition with her devotion to a movement. Culled from hours of autobiographical tapes, this new film unveils the unmitigated ego of a brilliant artist and the absurdities of her time. At the height of her fame Simone walked away from her family, country, career and fans, to move to Liberia and give up performing. The story of her life leading up to that event poses the question, 'how does royalty stomp around in the mud and still walk with grace?'
Director(s): Liz Garbus
Production: Netflix
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 18 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min


Tremendous pleasure

and honor to welcome

the incredible, unique, and fantastic,

one and only Nina Simone.


Hi! We're ready.

One, two, three.

I haven't seen you for many years,

since 1968.

I have decided that I will

do no more jazz festivals.

That decision has not changed.

I will sing for you,

or we will do and share with you

a few moments,

after which I shall graduate

to a higher class, I hope,

and I hope you will come with me.

We will start from the beginning,

which was about a little girl,

and her name was Blue.

What's "free" to you, Nina?

- What's "free" to me?

- Yeah.

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.

My mother was one

of the greatest entertainers of all time,

hands down...

but she paid a huge price.

People seem to think that

when she went out on stage,

that was when she became Nina Simone.

My mother was Nina Simone 24/7...

and that's where it became a problem.

When she was performing,

she was brilliant, she was loved.

She was also a revolutionary.

She found a purpose for the stage,

a place from which she could

use her voice to speak out for her people.

But when the show ended,

everybody else went home.

She was alone

and she was still fighting...

but she was fighting

her own demons...

full of anger and rage.

She couldn't live with herself...

and everything fell apart.

Good evening.

Our guest tonight is Nina Simone.

Probably the foremost blues singer,

jazz singer, singer of all songs

in the United States today.

Nina, are you happy with

the kind of work you are doing?

What makes me the happiest,

is when I'm performing

and there are people out there

who feel with me

and I know I touched them.

But to be completely honest,

the whole thing

seems so much like a dream.

I never thought I was gonna

stay in show business.

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.

That's what I was prepared to be.

I was born Eunice Waymon,

which is my real name, by the way,

in a town called

Tryon, North Carolina.

I started to play the piano

when I was three or four.

My mother was a preacher

and she took me with her

on her revivals,

and I started to play the piano in church.

Revival meetings were

some of the most exciting times

that I've ever had.

The music was so intense,

you just sort of went out of yourself.

I felt it tremendously.

I was leading it.

When I was seven, the choir of our church

gave a program at the local theater,

and I was on that program...

And I played some song,

I don't remember what it was,

and these two women, two white women,

in the audience heard me.

One of them was the woman

that my mother worked for,

and the other one was a music teacher,

Mrs. Mazzanovich,

and they decided right then and there

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "What Happened, Miss Simone?" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 Oct. 2020. <https://www.scripts.com/script/what_happened%2C_miss_simone%3F_23272>.

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