Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Lisa Simone: The Good Daughter

A documentary gives Nina's daughter closure

Lisa Simone
Nina Simone in 1952 (photo: Herb Snitzer)

When Nina Simone died in 2003, the burden of preserving her legacy fell largely to her daughter, Lisa. It meant that for more than a decade, Lisa, a singer and Broadway actress, would have to put her late mother’s life before her own. “She used to say, ‘God help you when I’m gone,'” Lisa remembers. “I never understood what she meant by that until she was gone.”

With this past summer’s release of the Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? , the story of the singer’s trailblazing career and turbulent personal life, Lisa is finally able to emerge from her mother’s shadow. The film, directed by Academy Award nominee Liz Garbus, traces Simone’s journey from aspiring classical pianist to civil rights activist, and chronicles her later years abroad. Along the way, it juxtaposes the crackling tension of Simone’s live performances with intimate details about the singer’s domestic abuse and struggle with bipolar disorder.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published