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DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD
The door swung open and there she was: Nina Simone, alone in her dressing room, sweat cascading down her shaved head, a wig thrown to the floor and two glittering fake eyelashes mashed unceremoniously against the mirror.
It was after midnight and the compact and muscular woman radiated anger following a performance at the smoke-filled Village Gate in New York City. “She was scary, for sure,” recounts playwright Sam Shepard, who during the summer of 1964 was a twenty-one-year-old busboy tasked with delivering ice to chill Simone’s champagne.
Only moments before, her long fingers arched over a black Steinway, Simone held the audience rapt, even terrified. “Mississippi Goddam,” her first bona fide…
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