What Happened, Miss Simone? movie full length review - Pure Hollywood propaganda
This film is pure propaganda. Starting with the accusatory title that blames the victim, this film is the poster-child for the most offensive patriarchal drivel.
Nina Simon was a powerful Black woman. Of course they had to make her look crazy. RACISM set the stage and PATRIARCHY literally kicked her in the gut and kept her down and working for the man until the day she died.
The first 7 names listed as staring in this documentary are all men. Nina is listed as 14th. This film is not about Nina Simon. It is a propaganda smear of all those who want to keep the legacy of this genius marginal at best. Nina Simon literally had to run for her life (or safety at least) from an intensely abusive husband who punched her in the stomach when she was pregnant, beat her regularly, is quoted saying in the film that one of his beatings was so bad he "taped" her eye himself and never sought medical treatment, and Nina is quoted saying that he "tied me to the bed and rape me"; and who worked her like a slave with no understanding of her as a woman or as a human; and who when Nina fled from him, abandoned their daughter. And although Nina was beaten, raped, overworked, misunderstood, and clearly a frustrated genius trying to survive in a hateful world that was and still is terrified by her power as a Black person and as a woman, and who was not protected by, but rather further and severely abused and exploited by her husband?rather than being jailed for his crimes against Nina Simone?was the director's choice to use in the film to attest to her character. When Nina fled, her husband just left. He abandoned his daughter and yet the film manages to make Nina look like the abuser for fleeing, even though once she was secure in Liberia she sent for her daughter.
It is also conspicuous that when she is recorded saying that he was completely impotent and never would touch her or make love to her the directors did not once use the pleading song Sugar in My Bowl in this film.
Mostly white men and her abusive husband, and daughter are interviewed. Her daughter is clearly still trying to make sense of an intensely genius and complex mother, who was worked to death, who only became abusive toward her daughter after she was pushed to the brink and had fled for her life, and who came out of a complex, racist, misogynistic and hateful time.
It follows suit that this film would be nominated for best doc by an academy that is exclusive and racist, further perpetuating the legacy of white patriarchal racism of keeping any powerful Black human?and in particular, a Black woman?outside its domain.
Other than Nina's own words, the only other words that made even an inkling of sense in this film?and they made up only TWO SENTENCES?was by Malcolm X's daughter, Attallah Shabazz who says of Nina Simon: "She was African royalty. How does royalty stomp around in the mud and still do it with grace?"