Nina Simone died in 2003, but her voice continues to echo into the present. There are dozens of examples of contemporary songs that sample Simone’s music, most notably when Kanye West excerpted Simone’s version of “Strange Fruit” in the haunting, pitch-shifted sample heard on Yeezus highlight “Blood On The Leaves.” Kanye’s choice to include that particular song ignited conversations highlighting the significance of integrating a song about perpetual cycles of American racism into a contemporary mainstream rap album and subsequently introduced a lot of young people to Simone’s music. In June, Netflix will release an original documentary about the renowned activist and musician directed by Liz Garbus titled What Happened, Miss Simone?. This documentary appears to focus on some of the darker elements of Simone’s personal life. Lisa Celeste Stroud, Simone’s daughter, is featured prominently in the trailer, commenting that: “My mother was Nina Simone 24/7 and that’s where it became a problem. Everything fell apart.” Watch a trailer for What Happened, Miss Simone? below.
What Happened, Miss Simone? is out 6/26 on Netflix.