Lisa Simone Kelly, daughter to iconic singer Nina Simone, did not fulfill her mom’s dying wish to donate money to music schools in Africa.
Instead, Kelly, trustee of the late singing legend’s estate, stands accused by the California Attorney General of keeping $1.5 million of her mom’s money — reportedly allotted for music schools in South Africa, Liberia and Ghana — and funneling the fortune into her personal company without authorization, reports TMZ.
Further, due to the alleged fraud, she has been pressured to step down as trustee and may face legal repercussions.
Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon. She collected a considerable musical catalog in her career that include hits like “Sinnerman” and “Strange Fruit” (the latter of which was sampled by Kanye West for Yeezus). In 1993 she moved to Southern France and passed away in her sleep there in 2003, following a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
Zoe Saldana will star in her biopic on the big screen. The casting met with enormous controversy over the Dominican actress’s lighter skin tone. Earthy singer India Arie was among the critics who posted on Simone’s website.
“So today I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone … AND I THINK THEY ARE RIDICULOUS,” she wrote. “Yes there should be a movie made, and YES they should have chosen someone who LOOKS like Nina Simone, ESPECIALLY since her RACE played such a PIVOTAL role in WHO, WHAT and WHY, she was.”
Kelly, who took similar issue with the casting told Ebony, “As an actress I respect her process, but I also know that there are many other actresses out there … who would be great as my mother.”
Like her mother, Kelly is also a performer, and is noted as, ”her own woman: a singer, songwriter and performer whose ability to transcend genres echoes the tradition of her mother, musical icon Nina Simone,” according to her Facebook page. She recently performed a handful of shows in France that wrapped Sunday (Nov. 24).