'Nina,' Biopic on Nina Simone, Opens

Writer-director Cynthia Mort’s long-gestating biopic, Nina, opens in theaters to significant controversy over the casting of Zoe Saldana in the lead role as well as other film-making choices. For representative reviews, see Variety, The Guardian, Time, and Rolling Stone.

The film's opening is also an occasion to re-introduce Nina Simone as a seminal American singer, songwriter, pianist, and arranger, and one of the preeminent musician-activist of the civil rights era. Her legacy has been heard and felt in musicians working in a broad range of styles including jazz, blues, folk, rhythm & blues, gospel, and popular music.

For a substantive though still introductory biography, see her official site maintained by the Estate of Nina Simone. The site also presents the would-be listener (and purchaser) with a complete discography. There are many classic video performances to choose from, but for a sense of how influential she could be even when not singing or playing, do view the video clips below.

Film Still from 'Nina' Starring Zoe Saldana (RLJ Entertainment)

Film Still from 'Nina' Starring Zoe Saldana (RLJ Entertainment)

On An Artist's Duty (from Nina Simone: Great Performances - Live College Concerts & Interview)

On Collective Duty (from Nina Simone: Great Performances - Live College Concerts & Interview)

On Freedom (from Nina: An Historical Perspective by Peter Rodis/Nina Simone Estate)