In a few months, the world will see Nina Simone’s story told by people who didn’t know her best. Simone’s biopic, staring Zoe Saldana, may not even mention the things the legendary singer’s daughter disclosed to the Daily Mail. Lisa Celeste Simone, Nina’s only daughter, described her mother as “monster” in the recent interview. Lisa told the tabloid site that her mother battled alcoholism and depression throughout her childhood and left the relationship strained, even at the time of death.
“I was not a happy child when I was alone with her. My mum shot me down a lot, attacked me in public. It is easy to attack children, they are small and depend on you,” Lisa stated.
Lisa went on to vent about her legal issues after her mother’s death when she had to deal with not being included in her will, as well as the pending lawsuit against her father. Lisa also stated that her mother did everything she could to discourage her music career and barely cared that she appeared on Broadway.
Although Lisa seemed angry at times during the interview, she still tried to defend her mother’s legacy when it came to the biopic. “The goal [of the biopic] seems to be to bleed me dry of everything my mother stood for, of everything she sacrificed. She had many experiences in her life that left her feeling sad and angry…”
‘I did not go through what I did to have her contribution forgotten.
‘I had no relationship with my father. He thought he could use me to get control of my mother’s estate and when I decided to stand my ground he decided to make my life a living hell.’
The unfolding anarchy surrounding the new Saldana film Nina seems an appropriate reflection of her chaotic life, and it produces a wry smile from Lisa.
‘They did not ask me or the Nina Simone estate to participate in the film at all. It is based on a lie because it is based on the life of my mother’s assistant, Clifton Henderson.
‘Clifton was gay so he could not have had an affair with my mother, which is what the film implies.
‘And my mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark…
‘She was rejected by the U.S. She loved classical music and wanted to become the first black classical pianist but her dreams turned to dust because of the colour of her skin.
One has to wonder why is Lisa speaking out now, and why to a tabloid, if she cares so much about her mother’s legacy?