Content Warning: Physical abuse, racial violence, slurs
(Based on real life accounts)
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
NINA SIMONE sits across from an INTERVIEWER. She crosses her legs and clasps her hands together.
I up and left everything that reminded me of America in 1974. They say that I disappeared, because I left without a note. Why isn’t that just hilarious? I was nearly beaten to the white meat every damn night, and still expected to sing on stage like a robot. America beats me to shit, my husband beats me to shit, the government puts all of my friends six feet deep and you expect a note out of me? Explaining myself? Ha! I have to laugh.
Nina throws her head back and laughs.
They called me crazy, unhinged, unstable– anything to dodge acknowledging that they drove me away. Tell me, do you take me for a crazy woman? Hell, even if I was crazy– removing myself from an environment bent on murdering people that look like me is the least crazy thing to do. But, to invalidate my experiences is the American thing to do! Why should they acknowledge me? To acknowledge me is to acknowledge how horrid it is to be black in America! We don’t last long on their soil, we aren’t meant to. The moment you accept this as a reality and step your foot in that shit is the moment you expedite your demise.
(matter of fact)
There is no way around it, but to leave. Blackness already makes you a target, but to be black and outspoken? They’ll kill every ounce of hope and gall in your body. You’re a target the moment you get to preaching to the public about black liberation. All of my friends were targeted, and I can assure you that I was too. My music, while I hold it near and dear to my heart, was my ticket to an FBI file. We all had one, marked with our names and filled with our art. Our movements were watched, our mail and other personal items tampered with, and petty rumors were spread about us. We were meant to be driven crazy, or killed. Our backs were marked and over the years they hit so many of us that I needed to leave. I couldn’t breathe there. I–I couldn’t go on. I was successful but I was still a nigger. White people were sure to remind me every waking moment.
What was I supposed to do? Shut up and sing pretty songs about little white girls and boys running through a meadow?
Or maybe another song about how in love I am? I would be lying and I damn sure don’t need to do that. My music is the truth about what is really happening to black bodies! Black bodies are being hung by white hands! Black bodies are heckled and tried by white mouths for walking down the street! Black bodies are being worked to death for pebbles in return! Black children are being murdered! Children! Is that not evil? And you expect me to leave behind a note explaining my absence? Is that not crazy?