*A video for Jazmine Sullivan’s rendition of Nina Simone’s 1978 track “Baltimore” for the Netflix documentary “What Happened Miss Simone?” has hit the Internet.
The song appears on a tribute album connected to the film, set to premiere June 26 on the streaming service. Lauryn Hill, Common, Mary J. Blige, Usher, and Simone’s daughter Lisa Simone Kelly are also featured on the film’s soundtrack and tribute album.
The video for Sullivan’s “Baltimore” cover has footage of Simone and activist Angela Davis speaking on the black experience in America, while scenes from Baltimore protests following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 are mixed with recent footage of unrest over 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died from injuries sustained while in police custody.
“I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty,” Simone is seen saying at the beginning of the video. “And at this crucial time in our lives — when everything is so desperate when every day is a matter of survival — I don’t think you can help but be involved.”
“We will shape and mold this country, I will not be shaped and molded at all, anymore,” the singer and civil rights activist says. “So I don’t think you have a choice.”
Blige’s musical contribution to the Netflix film comes two years after she was attached to play Simone in the upcoming biopic “Nina”…a casting that angered Simone’s family because they were not consulted. Blige ended up having to back out anyway, due to a scheduling conflict. That cleared the path for Zoe Saldana to take over the role…and even more controversy.
When we spoke to Blige about the role in 2011, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul revealed her personal connection with Simone, but was careful not to say anything that would again rile the family:
Watch the video for Jazmine Sullivan’s version of “Baltimore” below:
Below, Simone’s original “Baltimore” track:
Watch the trailer for “What Happened, Miss Simone?” below: