Courtesy of Netflix
Nina Simone spent her life crossing divides: the railroad tracks that separated the black and white communities of her North Carolina town, which she walked over to get to piano lessons as a little girl; the figurative color barrier, which she shattered when she headlined at Carnegie Hall in 1963; and the Atlantic Ocean, which she traversed when she renounced what she called "the United Snakes of America" and moved to Liberia. In Liz Garbus's new documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, we learn that the jazz icon paid a price for her talent and rebellious spirit. When she turned her focus to "civil rights music," venues refused to book her, and when her husband became her manager he turned demanding and abusive. But if her road to glory was as gravelly as her singular husky contralto, Simone's songs were transcendent and vital. "How does royalty stomp around in the mud and still walk with grace?" her goddaughter asks in the film. That's a feat only the High Priestess of Soul could achieve.
The documentary will steam on Netflix beginning June 26. Watch the trailer below: