THE BLOG

10 Things I Learned about Nina Simone

06/30/2015 10:50 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2016

I screened What Happened, Ninan Simone? on Netflix. The title comes from a Maya Angelou quote:

Miss Simone, you are idolized, even loved, by millions now. But what happpened, Miss Simone?

Here are 10 things I learned:

1. She was born Eunice Waymon.

2. She changed her name so her mother wouldn't know she was playing non-church music aka "the devil's music" aka jazz.

3. She wanted to be the first black classical pianist to play Carnegie Hall.

4. She wrote Mississippi Goddam after the deaths of Medgar Evans and the girls in the church in Birmingham and performed it during the march to Selma in 1965.

Alabama's got me so upset, Tennesee's made me lost my rest, and everybody knows about Mississippi goddam

5. She told the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King she was not non-violent.

6. Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz were next door neighbors and two of their children appear in the documentary.

7. She was physically abused by her second husband and in turn physically abused her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, who was the executive producer of the film.

8. She was friends with Lorraine Hansberry.

9. She performed on the tv show Playboy's Penthouse and was introduced by Hugh Hefner.

10. She was dignosed both as bipolar and manic depressive.

Peace, love, compassion, and blessings.