Director Liz Garbus talks to NPR about making her documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, premiering on Netflix today.
Says Garbus about interviewing Nina’s daughter Lisa Simone Kelly, “I think Lisa had spent a long time trying to set the record straight about her mom, and that’s a very hard task, because the record about her mom isn’t straight. Her mom had a life with many rough edges. There are a lot of people out there who don’t have nice things to say about Nina Simone. She occupies that space that people call ‘a difficult woman.’ That’s a term laden with a lot of sexism, as many male performers could get away with some of the stuff that Nina would pull. Nina truly did have difficulty in her life. She did, I think, suffer from an undiagnosed mental illness for most of her 20s and 30s. So this was Lisa’s mother: a woman who was in an abusive marriage, who could be abusive herself, who was in turmoil about her career, though totally dedicated to it. Setting that record straight for Lisa is no easy task, and Lisa feels now that her mother’s story has been told and that she doesn’t have to correct the record.”