A decade after her passing in Bouches-du-Rhône, France, the daughter of singer Nina Simone has penned an unflattering tell-all piece on the pianist, revealing that she was often attacked and neglected by the entertainer.
Her story below…
On her mother, Lisa Celeste Stroud told ‘The Daily Mail’:
My mother could be a monster. 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. Ugly truths have come out and relationships have died because people treated me as a commodity.Too many people had ulterior motives.
I’d like to think if she had taken two seconds to think about her behaviour she would have done things differently but I’m not sure.
My mother was angry with the world and often the only person around to blame was me.When my parents were together my mother was more giving and open but with the divorce she turned into someone you didn’t want to know. I had nothing to do with my father before his death.
Named Andrew Stroud, Lisa’s father was Simone’s second husband whom she wed in 1961, going onto become her manager and, rather unfortunately, exercised control over the singer with violence.
The ‘Mail’ explains:
Court documents accuse him of trying to cash in on his ex-wife’s name by claiming ownership of hundreds of her recordings, allegedly gifted to him as part of their 1972 divorce settlement.
Lisa and her team have attempted to wrest them back for the estate – only to have Stroud sue Lisa for copyright infringement and punitive damages. They in turn claim his actions have devalued and diminished the true worth of Nina’s legacy.
‘My mother did not make all those sacrifices for her estate to be thrown away,’ Lisa says today.
‘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.
Speaking more on Zoe Salanda‘s portrayal of her mother, the 51 year old explained:
Zoe Saldana portraying her is a bad joke because there are more gifted actresses who are more in keeping with my mother’s appearance.
I know how my mother would feel about Zoe, so they are making a mockery of her experiences to construct their own truth.
The goal 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. They approached the estate for permission to use some of the songs but as administrator I refused. I had the biggest laugh when I heard that Cynthia Mort (the movie’s original director) had been pushed out of the film. You could call it karma. There is most certainly a divine order at work. I have been married 18 years, I have a good relationship with my children and I hope I’ll get to die with a smile on my face surrounded by my family. My mother never got that. She passed away still in search of comfort and love. Perhaps if she had them, she might, in the end, have known peace.