ALL ARTS Documentary Selects


Nina Simone: The Legend

Singer, piano virtuoso and activist, Nina Simone led an exciting life. This documentary traces her story with rich archival footage and interviews, as well as prominently featuring the music through which Nina expresses herself.

AIRED: March 02, 2021 | 0:54:24

Simone: [Vocalizing ]

["Wild is the Wind" playing ]


♪ Kiss me, and with your kiss my life begins ♪

♪ Daddy, you spring to me

Simone: That's -- that's my music, too.

-Mm-hmm. -♪ All things

It's very nice.

♪ To me

♪ Don't you know

♪ Your life itself ♪ Your life itself



♪ Like a leaf clings to a tree ♪


[ Car engine running ]

I don't know what -- what life is supposed to be anymore.

♪ You know you're life itself


When you don't have anybody at home,

it doesn't mean much.


you got your daughter.

I don't see her often.

She's got -- she's singing now.

She's got a career,

and I saw her yesterday.

I have a grandchild, but I've never seen it.

Seven years old.

♪ Creatures of the wind

I have sacrificed my whole life to do the songs

for this race of mine, the [indistinct]

Well, that's what you want to do, isn't it?

Itisn't what I wanted. But you were successful.

Mrs. Mazzanovich wanted it for me,

she and Mama. Well...

They made up their minds what I was supposed to do.

You wanted me to stay here.

Well, I didn't exactly want you to stay here.

As I said yesterday, we just...

Things just stray apart, you know?


Well, we still alive.


We're not dead. No.

But we have different lives now.

[ "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free" plays ]

♪ I'd be a little freer, a little less mean ♪

[ Band responds indistinctly ]

♪ A little less mean now

♪ A little less bitter

♪ One day I thought I could fly ♪

♪ One day I woke up and I could fly ♪

♪ I'd look down at the sea

♪ And I wouldn't know myself

♪ I'd have no hands, I'd have no feet ♪

♪ I'd have new vision

♪ My eyes would be open a little bigger ♪


♪ Bible says

♪ The Bible says be transformed by the renewing of your mind ♪

♪ Be transformed by the renewing of your mind ♪

♪ E-e-e-easy

♪ Get in my way

[ Cheering ]

Simone: I refuse to call it jazz,

even though the whole world calls it jazz,

but it's a term that was invented by white people

to identify Black people.

♪ You slavers will know

♪ What it's like to be a slave


♪ Slave to your mind

♪ Slave to your race

[ Blind Willie Johnson's "Motherless Children Have a Hard Time" plays ]

♪ Motherless children have a hard time ♪

♪ Mother's dead

♪ They don't have anywhere to go ♪

♪ Wanderin' around from door to door ♪

♪ Have a hard...

Carol: She was Daddy's favorite.

She was apple of my daddy's eye.

We called him "the whistler," as a matter of fact.

And he had that rare ability to whistle on two levels

all at one time, the double whistle.

He could do that.

We could hear him, as we used to tease ourselves,

a mile away.

Many blocks away, we could hear Daddy

whistling in the night.

He could also sing and dance.

In fact, he and Mother started out as a dance duo.

Johnson: ♪ Your husband may be good to you ♪

♪ When Mother is dead, Lord

♪ They be good to you, Mother's dead ♪

She was just a baby lying on the floor in this old crib.

And she'd come across one,

and some of them had advertised and have a little

two or three notes, you know, on a staff,

And when she'd see one of those, she'd...

♪ Ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo

It would strike this music on the inside.

It would strike it, you see, and she'd...

♪ Ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo

♪ Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-hoo

[ Indistinct singing ]


See, I'm a preacher of the Gospel,

have been for 57 years.

And then on Sunday morning,

she played...

for the morning service.

And people would come just to hear her play,

'cause when she struck the piano,

people said something went all over the church,

-He'll stand for you. -Amen!

-And if you call Him... -Yep.

-...and if you call Him right... -Yeah!

-...He'll stand for you. -All right!

And He'll ask you, "What do you want me to do for you?"

Tell Him what you want!

Whoo! Hallelujah!

Tell Him what you want! He tell the truth.

[ Piano playing ]

Everything will be all right.

And the Lord all right.

Audience: Yeah.

♪ Precious Lord

Woman: Yes, yes.

♪ Take my hand

Yes, sir.

♪ Lead me on

♪ Let me stand

Audience: Yeah!

♪ I am tired

-All right! -Yes.

♪ I am weak

♪ I am worn

Man: Sing it, sing it!

♪ Through the storm

[ Applause ]

Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

♪ Through the night

♪ Lead me on

Yeah, yeah!

Miss Mazzanovich was named Muriel.


And she said the late hours they were taking care,

she said, "If you will teach Eunice, I'll pay for it."

And so she said, "Send her down."

Miss Mazzanovich said, "Send her down and let me hear her."

And when she went down, she come back,

said, "Definitely. She's full of music."

She said, "She has the perfect pitch."

[ Piano playing ]




The reason she was not admitted was because she was Black,

and most of all because she was a young Black woman.

Oh, no.

Had nothing to do with her color or background.

She just didn't -- she wasn't accepted

because there were others who were better.

And that's the whole posture of the Curtis Institute.

Said it was because I was Black.

Oh, no.

And I certainly played the piano very well.

Oh, not genius, but she had talent.

She had a great talent.

And I accepted her on the basis of her talent

and with the understanding that I would prepare her

for an audition at Curtis.

It was during that early period

that she demonstrated at one lesson

her ability to play jazz.

And I remember distinctly telling her,

"Why don't you pursue this as your profession?"

And she said, "Oh, no, my first love is classical music

and I want to be a pianist."

I've known her to have to have to practice seven hours...

...and trying to get her listen,

to have 19 pages at one time to memorize.

And I've seen her just cry.

My experience was so firsthand and so deep.

It was so intense.

The -- the rejection was so unequivocally wrong

that I haven't got over it yet.

She changed her name.

She became Nina Simone because she didn't want our mom

to know that -- that she was playing and singing

what my mother had been call the devil's music.

[ Strumming "When I Was in My Prime" ]



♪ When I was in my prime

♪ I flourished like a vine

♪ There came along a false young man ♪

♪ And stole away my prime, prime ♪

Simone: And I made a record called

"I Loves You, Porgy" in New York City,

and it became an instant hit all over the Eastern Seaboard

and all over the United States and eventually the world.

And that made me into an instant celebrity.

After that, it was just clear sailing.

Man: Setting the rhythm for her completely personal

singing style is a newcomer to the jazz scene.

Miss Nina Simone sings "Little Liza Jane."


♪ I got a beau you ain't got none, Little Liza Jane ♪

♪ I got a beau you ain't got none, Little Liza Jane ♪

♪ I got a beau you ain't got none, Little Liza Jane ♪

♪ I got a beau you ain't got none, Little Liza Jane ♪

♪ Oh, Little Liza, Little Liza Jane ♪

♪ Oh, Little Liza, Little Liza Jane ♪

[ Horns honking ]

[ "Go to Hell" playing ]





♪ If your mind lies in the devil's workshop ♪

♪ And evil-doing's your thrill

♪ And trouble and mischief is all you live for ♪

♪ You know damn well

♪ That you'll go to hell now

♪ You'll go to hell

♪ Now you're living high and mighty ♪

♪ Rich off of the fat of this land ♪

♪ Just don't dispose of your natural soul, love ♪

♪ 'Cause if you do, you know damn well ♪

♪ That you'll go to hell, yes, you will ♪

♪ You'll go to hell

Man: Hell!

♪ While your natural soul burns ♪


♪ While you pay for your sins Hell!

♪ Keep your children from doing wrong if you can ♪

♪ 'Cause you know damn well

♪ That they'll go to hell

♪ They'll go to hell


♪ Man and woman were created Hell!

♪ To live for eternity Hell!

♪ But an apple they ate from the tree of hate ♪

♪ So you know damn well

♪ They went to hell, yes, they did ♪

♪ They went to hell

♪ Some say that hell is below us ♪

♪ But I say it's right by my side ♪

♪ 'Cause I see evil in the morning ♪

♪ Evil in the evening all the time ♪

♪ You know damn well

♪ I must be in hell, yeah

♪ We must be in hell

♪ Got to be in hell

♪ Must be in hell

[ Applause ]

All right!

[ Cheers and applause ]

Simone: Mass hypnosis is certainly a thing that's really alive,

and it can sway thousands of people at one time.

I use it all the time.

[ Laughs ]


It was almost always electric, exciting.

You never knew what she would do.

She would start playing a Bach riff,

and she had the most unusual vocal arrangements,

musical arrangements.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[ Band sings indistinctly ]

Simone: That's what I call it -- Black classical music.

It's an infusion of pop, gospel, classical,

jazz, of folk, and ballads.

And they haven't been able to call it anythingbut jazz.

And like I said, I call it Black classical music.

♪ It's all right now, now, now, now ♪

[ Band responds indistinctly ]

I don't think anyone in the world

could get people as excited as she did.

And for me, that's the --

her greatness was what kept me going with her

because she was a very difficult person,

as you all know.

She wasn't an easy person.

She came in late enough every night

to start the first show in time for the second show.

And one night we figured out why there were bodyguards.

A woman got close enough and asked for an autograph.

She signed it. She handed it to the woman.

The woman said, "Thank you very much, Miss Simone."

And she went, "That's all you got to say?"

And the woman's face dropped and said,

"Well, what else do you expect me to say?

If that's how you feel about it, here, take it back."

And Nina was picking up a bottle and going after the woman.

We said, "That's what the bodyguards are for --

to protect the public from her,

not to protect her from the public."

[ Laughs ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

Simone: He was a great man. He wasn't such a good husband.

There was never any passion between us,

and I never enjoyed him in bed.

He told -- he told people that I was his sleeping pill.

[ Speaks indistinctly ]

That's Nina Simone over there.

Sam: Andy was [indistinct]

I think he -- he realized he probably had a good thing.

I think he realized he may have had a workhorse.

I think he realized that she was not as knowledgeable

about contracts,

about the business end of the music industry.

♪ Switch now, switch


When the show actually starts, Buck, when we up here,

you keep your eyes on me, right on me.

Whatever happens, just keep your eyes on me.

And don't worry about nothin'.

Keep yourself calm.


He didn't understand Nina.

He doesn't under-- he did not understand

the complexity of the madness of being an artist,

the confusion, the joy, the happiness,

how one day you love what you do,

the next day you may hate the very same thing

that you loved the day before.

♪ Lord have mercy on this land of mine ♪

♪ We all gonna get it in due time ♪

♪ I don't belong here I don't belong there ♪

♪ I've even stopped believing in prayer ♪

♪ Almost but not quite

Her music was just more powerful,

and it was more than music.

It was a philosophy and a belief

that despite all of these problems,

we will get through this,

and not only will we get through it,

but we will survive and triumph in this.

♪ Well, that's just the trouble ♪

Band: Too slow!

♪ Desegregation

Too slow!

♪ Mass participation

Too slow!

♪ Unification

Too slow!

♪ Do things gradually

Too slow!

♪ Will bring more tragedy

Too slow!

♪ Why don't you see it? Why don't you feel it? ♪

♪ I don't know, I don't know

You don't have to live next to me, love

♪ Just give me my equality, love ♪

♪ Everybody knows about Mississippi ♪

♪ Everybody knows about Alabama ♪

♪ Everybody knows about Mississippi ♪

♪ Goll damn

It was dangerous, yes.

We encountered many a people

who were after our hides

at different, different times.

And I was excited by it, though,

because I felt more alive then than I feel now,

because I -- I was needed,

and I could sing something to help my people.

And that became the mainstay of my life.

That became most important to me.

Not classical piano, not classical music,

not even popular music,

but civil rights movement music.

Bob & Marcia: ♪ Oh, how I've longed to know the truth ♪

♪ There are times when I look back ♪

♪ And I am haunted by my youth

♪ Oh, but my joy of today

♪ Is that we can all be proud to say ♪

♪ To be young, gifted, and Black ♪

We will be able to speed up that day

when all of our children, Black men and white men,

Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,

will be able to join hands and sing in the words

of the old Negro spiritual --

"Free at last, free at last,

thank God Almighty we are free at last!"

Simone: ♪ Slavers will know


♪ What it's like to be a slave


♪ Slave to your mind


♪ slave to your race


♪ You won't go to heaven


♪ You won't go to...

Malcolm X: The only kind of revolution that's nonviolent

is the Negro revolution.

The only revolution based on loving your enemy.

The real problem with violence

is that we havenever been violent.

We have been too nonviolent.

Too nonviolent!

[ Cheering ] Yes!

If I'd had my way, I'd have been a killer.


That's true.

I would have had guns, and I would have gone to the South

and gave them violence for violence,

shotgun for shotgun, if I had my way.

But my husband

told me I didn't know anything about guns,

and he refused to teach me

and the only thing I had was music,

so I obeyed him.

If I'd had my way, darlin',

I wouldn't be sitting here today.

I'd be probably dead somewhere

because I would have used guns in those years.

I was never a nonviolent person.

King, Jr.: The burning of our churches will not deter us.

Crowd: Yes, sir.

The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us.

Yes, sir!

The beating and killing of our clergymen and young people

will not divert us. Yes, sir!

The wanton release of their known murderers

will not discourage us.

We are on the move now! Yes, sir!

Like an idea whose time has come.

Yes, sir!

Not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. Yes, sir.

We are moving to the land of freedom.

Yes, sir.

[ Indistinct talking ]

If you educate a dog, you've got an educated dog.

That's all.

You don't change a nigger's nature, his characteristics,

because you educate him.

You've got a educated nigger, that's all.

And remember, the niggers that are giving you all the trouble,

white folk, are the educated niggers.

♪ We are not afraid

[ Singing indistinctly ]

♪ Oh, deep in my heart

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Singing indistinctly ]

♪ Everybody knows about Mississippi ♪

♪ Goddam

♪ Can't you see it? Can't you feel it? ♪

♪ It's all in the air

♪ I can't stand the pressure much longer ♪

♪ Everybody say a prayer

♪ Alabama's gotten me so upset

♪ Selma made me lose my rest

♪ And everybody knows about Mississippi, Goddam ♪

We had a number of stars came down and performed,

but I think Nina Simone stole the show, and again,

it was because her music so reflected the soul

and the feeling of the people there.

[ Indistinct shouting ]

[ Gunshot ]

[ Shouting continues ]

[ Gunshot ]

♪ He was dreaming of the day

♪ Peace would come on out to stay ♪

♪ And he spread the message

♪ All across the land

♪ Turn the other cheek, he'd plead ♪

♪ Love thy neighbor was his creed ♪

♪ Pain, humiliation, and death, he did not dread ♪

♪ Yes, with his Bible by his side ♪

Simone: I don't blame the white people for what they did.

They were slave drivers, and that's what they were,

and they drove the slaves.

And I think that if Blacks had had the opportunity

to have slaves, they would have had whites as slaves.


There was just not a place where any of us could offer

much refuge to anybody else.

And I can understand that feeling

'cause at points I have, too, felt particularly angry

and particularly betrayed

that we are willing to settle now for so little

when we ask so much and deserve so much more.

Damn right.

Damn right it would have.

We wouldn't be fighting like we fighting now.

We wouldn't just have five Black mayors.

We would have half of the United States that we own,

and we'd have a separate state by now,

which, of course, I'm for

because America is full of prejudice and discrimination,

and the Black people are never gonna to get their rights

unless they have their own separate state.

And if we'd had a real armed revolution,

there'd have been a lot of blood,

but we'd have -- I think we'd have that separate state by now.


She was really out there alone,

so she carried a much --

she carried the burden by herself,

and we had each other to help.

But even amongst us here, many of us got tired.

Many of us, you know, were emotionally broken down.

Martin Luther King gave his life.

[ Helicopter whirring ]

[ Explosion ]

[ Whirring continues ]

Simone: Mr. Backlash, Mr. Backlash,

who do you think I am?

They raise my taxes, freeze my wages,

send my only son to Vietnam.

They give me second-class houses and second-class schools.

Do they think that all colored people

are just second-class fools?

♪ You give me second-class houses ♪

♪ Second-class schools

♪ I know you think all colored people ♪

♪ Are just second-class fools

♪ Mr. Backlash

♪ I'm gonna leave you with the blues, yes, I am ♪


♪ I tell you, when Langston Hughes, when he died ♪

♪ He told me many times before

♪ He said, Nina, keep on workin' ♪

♪ Till they open up the door now ♪

♪ When you finally made it and the doors are open wide ♪

♪ Make sure you tell 'em exactly where it's at ♪

♪ So they'll have no other place to hide ♪

♪ So I'm telling you

♪ Warning you

♪ Telling you, yeah

♪ I...

Delsner: She was very pro-Black and...

she became embittered by what was going on in this country.

It came out in her performance, and she started

to turn off the white audiences who were now afraid to --

afraid to go to a show, afraid of getting beat up

or mugged or afraid to hear some message

they were sick and tired of hearing.

Many of my -- all my friends

had either left the movement or were exiled or were killed.

And so Iwas lost and Iwas bitter,

very bitter.

And what's that other word you used?

-Paranoid. -Paranoid.

I imagined that somebody was out to get me

and out to kill me every minute of my life.

Indeed, the FBI did have a paper on me.

I remember the -- the two men from the CIA

came to Curtis to interview me

and ask me if there was any evidence

when she was a student that she was mixed up in this

rebellious uprising.

And there was never, never any.

Well, when the civil rights movement died,

there was no reason to stay,

and the racial prejudice was so much,

I couldn't bear it, and I had to get out of there.

I couldn't -- I didn't think it was my home anymore.

In short, sexism was still very much prevalent

in everything, and racism was rampant and still present.

It is today.

She looked at herself, therefore, I suppose,

through the eyes of a woman at her age and said,

she doesn't want it, no time for it,

and to hell with it.

She dropped out literally.

[ "Four Women" playing ]


My skin is tan, tan

♪ My hair's all right, it's fine ♪

♪ My hips invite your down in

♪ And my mouth is like wine

♪ Whose little girl am I?

♪ Well, yours, if you got some money to buy ♪

♪ What do they call me?

♪ My name is Sweet Thing

I don't like to think about this.

I try to push it back because...

she seemed to become a -- a workhorse.



As well as abused, yes.



♪ My skin is brown.

♪ And my manner is tough

♪ I'll kill the first mother I see ♪

♪ My life has been rough

♪ I'm awfully bitter these days ♪

♪ Because my parents were slaves ♪

♪ What do they call me?

♪ Why do they call me?


♪ My name is Peaches


[ Applause ]

I had hallucinations.

I thought that I should be the same color all over,

so I put makeup in my -- in my hair,

brown makeup in my hair to make it the same color I was.

And I thought that I was getting ready

to go on the laser beam with my husband, Andy.

I thought I could see through his skin,

and I thought that he was my nephew

instead of my husband.

And I told him that we had to get out of Baltimore very fast

and go on the laser beam.

I was having hallucinations.

I was too tired to know what I was doing.

I called my mom. I called my mother.

And I told her what was happening.

I said, "Mom?"

She says, "Well, son, if you believe in that,

if you really believe that -- that... can be of some good and some help to her --

'cause she needs help.

She's going through a lot right now."

I said, "Mom, she's my blood. She's my blood.

And nobody is going to hurt her as long as I'm around."

If I can be of some good to her, if I can keep those bastards

away from her, if I could show her

that things are not like she has been used to...

[ Kids shouting in distance ]

[sobs] ...if I can show her

that if you keep hanging in there, sis,

day after day, you'll see some improvement.

Thingswill get better --

the paranoia, the birds, and the voices that she hear.

I was sad, yeah.

[ Piano playing ]

Simone: ♪ Lord, I sad


And then this lady is taken out of her cage,

put on stage, do her trick,

give the emotions to the audience,

taken off stage,

got a bunch of flowers, back into the cage.

It's horrible. It's horrible.

♪ You say you're mean evil and I don't know what to do ♪

♪ And that's the reason that he's gone ♪

♪ and left you black and blue

♪ Hey, lordy, mama

♪ Tell me, baby, what you gonna do? ♪

♪ Ah-na-na

♪ They say he's left you all alone ♪

♪ To weather this old storm

♪ And he's got another woman now ♪

♪ Hangin' on his arm

♪ That fool's telling everybody he's sick and tired of you ♪

♪ Hey, lordy, lordy, mama, what you gonna do? ♪

♪ Oh, yeah, hey, lordy, mama ♪

♪ Tell me, what you gonna do now? ♪

♪ What you gonna do?

♪ What you gonna do? Ah-na-na-na-na ♪

♪ They say you love to fuss and fight ♪

♪ And bring a good man down

♪ And don't know how to treat him ♪

♪ When he takes you on the town ♪


♪ They say you ain't behind him ♪


♪ And just don't understand

♪ And think that you're a woman ♪

♪ But you're acting like a man

♪ Hey, lordy, mama

♪ Hey, baby

♪ Tell me, what you gonna do? ♪

♪ Yeah


♪ Get your nerves together, baby ♪

♪ And set the record straight

♪ Let the whole round world know it wasn't you ♪

♪ That cause his bitter fate

♪ All these years you loved him ♪

Okay. That's okay. Leave it like it is.

No, no.

[ Speaks indistinctly ]

You've already -- you're repeating yourself now, okay?

[ Laughs ]

Oh, yes, I guess I am a little capricious.

[ Indistinct talking ]

I want color.

Listen, Stuart, this is Nina Simone.

You better [bleep].

Listen, Stuart, this is Nina Simone.

You better bring those contracts

to the Bingham Hotel this afternoon,

or I ain't gonna do your f * * *g concerts

'cause I know you're rich, son of a b * * h.

I am not easily aroused.

No, that's not true. I am.

I'm very emotional. I'm very disciplined.

But I'm very emotional.

And when I don't like something, I say it immediately.

Immediately when I don't like it.

You know, so I think people would say

I've got a hot temper.

I think so.

[ Laughs ]

♪ A bird fell to Earth

♪ Reincarnated from her birth

♪ She had fodder in her wings

♪ She had dust inside her brain ♪

♪ She flitted here and there

♪ United States, Switzerland, England, everywhere ♪

♪ With fodder in her wings

♪ And dust inside her brain

♪ Come, sad trees

♪ Come, sad trees

♪ Come, sad trees

It was my father that had the sense of humor.

It was my father whom I could lean on

[voice breaking] all the time.

And... day he...

was telling my brother

that he was the head of the family and how he made

the money to take care of the family.

And I knew it was a lie.

And he had never lied.

And I heard him telling my brother Sam that.

And it was the first time I ever heard him lie.

And I said, "You are a liar.

You don't take care of this family, and from now on,

you are not my father."

And he died! And he died.

I didn't even go to the funeral.

I went and gave a concert at the Kennedy Center

in Washington, D.C.,

and my father was buried that night,

and I never got over that.

I'm still not over that.

Every time he's mentioned, I want him again.

He influenced me more than any man in the world.

Simone: ♪ My father always promised me

I wish he was here now.

We would live in France

We'd go boating on the Seine

I would learn to dance

We lived in Ohio then

He worked in the mines

♪ On his dreams were boats we knew ♪

♪ We'd sail in time

[ Speaks indistinctly ]

[ Exhales ] My dad.



[ "The Last Rose of Summer" plays ]


♪ 'Tis the last rose of summer

That's the house I was born in.

[ Dog barking ]

Goodness gracious!

Good to see you.

It's good to see you.

Ah! [Indistinct]

[ Laughter ]

Good. Yes. You look so good.

Thank you. [ Speaks indistinctly ]

Have you?

How are you?

-How you doing? -I'm fine.


-Nice to see you. -Nice to see you, too.

That's right. He was my boyfriend for awhile.

That's right. That's right.

[ Indistinct talking ]

It's been such a long time.

Yeah, it's been 20 years.

Oh, man.

Brings back so many memories.

I don't know how I'm gonna stand it.

I just feel like killing myself.

I've lost them.


-Well, well, well, who is this? -This is your other daughter.

-This my other daughter? -This is your other daughter.

-And this is your mother. -I know.

[ Laughter ]

[ Singing indistinctly ]


♪ The sky is shattered with blackness ♪

[ Singing indistinctly ]

[ Laughter ]

[ Indistinct talking ]

[ Singing indistinctly ]



♪ Oh, Lord

♪ Go back home

♪ Go back home

♪ Go back home

♪ Go back home

♪ Where I

♪ Where I

♪ Where I

Simone: I wasn't able to raise Lisa very well.

I'm sure that we'll make it up.

As -- as months go by, we'll make up

for what we didn't share during those years.

She seems to think we can, and I think we can.

Hey! High five!

Lawson: She wasn't with me all around.

She was always with me musically.

So I want to...

I want to sing her songs,

and I would love to be able to do that

and have her in the wings or in the audience or on the stage,

knowing that she's appreciated, knowing that she's loved,

and knowing that it all has not been for naught.

[ Singing indistinctly ]



[ Dramatic music playing ]


Simone: Very little -- very little time for love.


♪ Easy to do

♪ For just a single woman

♪ Sometimes at night

♪ The walls talk back to me

♪ They seem to say

♪ Wasn't yesterday a better day? ♪


♪ Always alone

♪ At home or in a crowd

♪ A single woman

♪ Out on a private cloud

♪ Caught in a world

♪ Few people understand

♪ I am what I am

♪ Only one single woman

I sang this song in Africa in Liberia

when I was there for three years.

I sang it.

It was the only song that they asked me to sing.

During the entire time I was there,

I didn't have to sing.

I didn't have to work.

I didn't have to do anything except enjoy myself.

[ Applause ]

♪ There was a time

♪ I can't remember when

♪ The house was full of love

♪ But then again

♪ It might have been

♪ Imagination's plan

♪ Just to help along

[ Piano crescendos ]

♪ One single woman




[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Classical music playing ]







Woman: They were fixing the seats so that

people who watch her fingers.

Nina's mother was a Black lady.

And that meant I would have to sit over there

and not watch my daughter's hands,

and when she went over there and saw it,

♪ she came back and says, "I will not be playing. ♪

My mother is a Black woman,

and if she can't sit where she can watch my hands,

then I won't be playing."

She said, "Daddy, you can whip me,

you can beat me, you can kick me,

you can do anything you want to do.

I will not."


[ Music swells ]



Simone: It haunts me, especially when I'm alone at night.

I wish -- I still wish I had been a classical pianist,

but I don't look back.

I am what I am now.

Who am I?

I'm a reincarnation of an Egyptian queen.

[ Applause ]







  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv