documentary hack
What Happened, Miss Simone?By Liz Garbus

In a Nutshell

What Happened, Miss Simone? is a documentary-style movie that tells the story of the queen of blues, Nina Simone, who journeyed from child prodigy from a poor family to a powerful figure in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Favorite quote

How can you be an artist and not reflect the time?

Nina Simone, singer, pianist, civil rights activist


When it comes to celebrities and those in the public eye, what we see on-stage is rarely the full story. Despite what tabloid journalism might lead you to believe, the artists and celebrities who inspire and entertain us are more than just public figures – they're human beings.

Released in 2015, this documentary film takes a deep dive into the personal life and struggles of jazz icon Nina Simone. We know Simone for her grand performances and records, but under the surface lay a personal journey of loneliness, anger, and trauma.

And who better to tell the backstage-story of this music legend than Emmy Award-winning Liz Garbus? Garbus has directed and produced notable documentaries like Bobby Fischer Against the World, and National Society of Film Critics' Best Non-Fiction Film winner, The Farm: Angola, USA. What Happened, Miss Simone? won Garbus the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary in 2016. As this documentary unpacks, Simone's life was not without struggle; despite becoming an international star, as a Black American, Miss Simone endured many struggles for power in both her personal and public life.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

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    Nina Simone spent a lonely childhood in a segregated town, where racism was her first reality
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