Don't Miss the Film About a Great African-American Amid This Year's Oscars so White

'What Happened, Miss Simone?,' a documentary about the legendary singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone, was nominated for an Academy Award this year.

Photo Credit: Netflix/Dailymotion

As a performer, Nina Simone was known for her soulful vocals and carefree musical style, which captured audiences and attracted life-long fans, such as Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin. Simone had sung jazz, blues and folk music since the 1950's and when the violent days of the 1960's began, she sought to use her music to inspire political action. 'What Happened, Miss Simone' documents both the impact and evolution of her artistry over the course of a lifetime.
Watch: 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Full Trailer
During the Civil Rights Movement, the "High Priestess of Soul" wrote songs in response to the assassinations of Medgar Evars and Martin Luther King Jr. She also penned "Young Gifted and Black," using the same title as Hansberry's play, which resonated with a generation. 
Nina Simone describes her musical intentions: 
"People in Nina's Family have been looking for a while for this film to emerge so they came to me so when the idea of making a film about Nina Simone was presented to me, I basically fell off my chair," said Director Liz Garbus on The View. "I mean, what could be a more incredible subject and so relevant today?"

Director Liz Garbus explains the intrigue of the biopic:

Garbus had previously directed The Farm: Angola, USA (1998), which was also nominated for an Oscar. 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' is only one of two Academy Award Nominated Documenatries now streaming on Netflix - the other being 'Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom.'

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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