After much anticipation, the official trailer for What Happened, Miss Simone? has arrived. The Netflix-produced documentary uses rare archival footage and new interviews to paint a portrait of soul music legend Nina Simone–one that captures her roles as an artist, political activist and family woman all in concert.
“As fragile as she was strong. As vulnerable as she was dynamic. Most people are afraid to be as honest as she lived,” we hear near the trailer’s close. The two minute clip is a veritable bombardment of vintage Nina Simone footage, and suggests the feature will come loaded with amazing scenes of her in concert, before the recording studio’s mic, on tour and in the streets, fighting tirelessly for the justice she so knew to be so necessary. What we’re promised by the trailer is a portrait of the artist as an imperfect woman–a genius musician and freedom fighter chased by terrible demons. Nina Simone was a woman who suffered, in spite of the joy and knowledge she brought to so many around her. Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly and longtime musical director Al Schackman feature prominently in the film. Director credits go to documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus
What Happened, Miss Simone? will debut on Netflix on June 26th, but Okayplayer had a chance to take in an advance screening at this year’s Sundance film festival. Our film correspondent Samora Pinderhughes described in detail how
…[T]he film underlines Nina’s deep commitment to the civil rights movement, and how her identity and spirit were affected by its rise and fall. It also emphasizes her love of classical piano and how deeply hurt she was her whole life by the racial barriers that kept her from classical music success. All in all this is a vital documentary that everyone must see–an extremely moving portrait of Nina Simone’s life and music.
Watch the new trailer for What Happened, Miss Simone? below. Her music may be as important on a day like today as its ever been.