The legacy of Nina Simone has grown in popular culture alongside the global Black awakening taking place. The activist and singer-songwriter’s words and works have been adapted by a new generation that wants to continue her legacy.
But for the family directly, it appears that frustrations are boiling over about the state of the late musician’s estate.
According to The Daily Beast, RéAnna Simone Kelly hit up Twitter this past weekend to express her anger over how her grandmother’s estate is being controlled. Although Kelly didn’t provide specific details about the dispute, she did name the individual who was allegedly responsible for her family’s “pain and suffering”: Kamala Harris.
Kelly made this accusation after she had defended Chloe Bailey’s rendition of Simone’s 1964 song “Feeling Good”.
Shortly after that post, one Twitter user asked why Simone’s family would create an official Twitter account for the artist, who passed away three years before the social media platform had launched. Kelly delved into the dramatics and it didn’t bode well for the current Vice President of the United States.
“Nina’s granddaughter here. My family doesn’t run her estate anymore,” she wrote. “It was taken away from us and given to white people. Our family name was DRAGGED in the media. We get NO royalties, nothing. Wanna hold someone accountable? Ask Kamala Harris why she came for my family #NinaSimone.”
Kelly described Harris as someone who “separated” her family, as California’s Attorney General between 2011-2107, and that she effectively left Simone’s estate “in shambles.” She accused the VP of “bullying” her mother in court and leaving her family in a precarious financial position.
“Ask [Harris] why [she] didn’t even want my mom to be able to say she was Nina Simone’s daughter. Ask her why she wanted us to walk away with NOTHING …” Kelly continued. “Ask yourself this question. With grandma Nina being as famous as she is. With all of these artists covering her. Her name [and] likeness being used by damn-near everybody. Why is it that her family is living paycheck to paycheck? Why do I have to consider stripping to pay my bills?”
Kelly’s mother, Lisa Simone Kelly, shared an Instagram video in response to her daughter’s comments. She didn’t mention the battle over the estate or namedrop Harris, but made it clear she fully supported her loved-ones who are speaking their truth.