What Happened Miss Simone? - An Insight into the Life and Legacy of Nina Simone

What Happened Miss Simone? – An Insight into the Life and Legacy of Nina Simone

The Life and Legacy of Nina Simone

An Introduction to Nina Simone

Nina Simone, born Eunice Waymon in 1933, was a celebrated American singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Simone’s unique style blended jazz, soul, classical, and folk music genres. Her powerful voice and impassioned performances captivated audiences around the world.

The Struggles and Triumphs

Simone’s life was marked by both triumphs and struggles. Despite facing racial discrimination and financial hardships, she rose to prominence in the music industry in the 1950s. However, her career took a toll on her mental health, leading to personal challenges and an eventual hiatus from the music scene.

The Civil Rights Movement

Simone’s role as a civil rights activist cannot be overstated. Inspired by the racial injustices faced by African Americans, she used her music and platform to amplify the voices of the oppressed. Songs like “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” and “Mississippi Goddam” became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement, earning her the nickname “High Priestess of Soul.”

What Happened, Miss Simone?

The Netflix documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” provides a gripping insight into the life and struggles of Nina Simone. Directed by Liz Garbus, the film delves into the complexities of Simone’s personality and her relentless pursuit of justice. Through interviews, archive footage, and performances, viewers gain a deeper understanding of her legacy.

The Film’s Impact

“What Happened, Miss Simone?” received critical acclaim for its honest portrayal of Simone’s life. The documentary sheds light on the challenges she faced, both within the music industry and in her personal life. It highlights her resilience and determination to speak up against racial inequality, inspiring generations to fight for justice.

A Legacy that Endures

Nina Simone’s legacy continues to resonate with music lovers and activists alike. Her music remains timeless, and her activism has paved the way for future artists to use their platforms for social change. Simone’s powerful voice, boldness, and unwavering commitment to equality make her an icon to be celebrated and remembered.


“What Happened, Miss Simone?” offers a poignant exploration of the life and legacy of Nina Simone. Through this documentary, viewers gain a deeper understanding of the struggles she faced and the impact she made on society. Simone’s music and activism continue to inspire and empower, making her a true legend in the realm of music and civil rights.


1. Who was Nina Simone?

Nina Simone was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist.

2. What was the documentary film “What Happened Miss Simone?” about?

The documentary film “What Happened Miss Simone?” provided an insight into the life and legacy of Nina Simone, exploring her personal struggles, career achievements, and the impact she had on the civil rights movement.

3. When was “What Happened Miss Simone?” released?

“What Happened Miss Simone?” was released on June 26, 2015.

4. Who directed “What Happened Miss Simone?”

The documentary film was directed by Liz Garbus.

5. What was the inspiration behind the title “What Happened Miss Simone?”

The title was inspired by a Maya Angelou quote, where she asked Nina Simone what happened to her, referring to the changes in her personality and life experiences.

6. How was Nina Simone’s musical style described?

Nina Simone’s musical style is often described as a fusion of jazz, blues, classical music, and soul.

7. What were some of Nina Simone’s most famous songs?

Some of Nina Simone’s most famous songs include “Feeling Good,” “I Put a Spell on You,” and “Sinnerman.”

8. What role did Nina Simone play in the civil rights movement?

Nina Simone played an active role in the civil rights movement, using her music and platform to raise awareness about racial inequality and advocate for social justice.

9. What challenges did Nina Simone face throughout her life?

Nina Simone faced various challenges, including racial discrimination, mental health issues, and struggles with her personal relationships.

10. What is Nina Simone’s legacy?

Nina Simone’s legacy is that of an influential and iconic figure in music and activism, who used her talent to inspire and empower generations to fight for equality and justice.