“My Mother Could Be A Monster” Nina Simone’s Daughter Tells The Truth About Her Mother
During her life, Nina Simone was no stranger to controversy. And now it seems, even years after her death in 2003, there is still some resentment and hurt behind her legacy. But this time, the person with grievances is Simone’s only child, daughter Lisa Celeste Stroud.
Stroud, the product of Simone’s abusive marriage to her former manager Andrew Stroud, became a singer and actress and took the moniker Simone with her on stage. But recently, in an interview with the Daily Mail, she made it crystal clear that there are lingering scars from the strained and often abusive relationship she shared with her mother.
Lisa Stroud told the Daily Mail that her mother suffered from depression and alcoholism which resulted in a tortured relationship between the two. It wasn’t until the late eighties that she was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In her first time speaking about the relationship with her mom she said,
“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.”
When Simone died at 70, several family issues surfaced as they battled in the courts trying to settle her multi-million dollar estate.
Stroud said: “Ugly truths have come to and relationships have died because people treated me as a commodity. Too many people had ulterior motives.”
And after her less than normal childhood, it wasn’t an experience she was willing to repeat. As a young girl, Lisa recalls being dragged around the world touring with her mother and when she complained or refused to go, she was blackmailed or beaten. Her life had very little stability. By the age of seven, she had 13 governesses, was working by the age of 10, her mother’s chauffeur at 12. And at 14, she left her home after a beating.
When she got older, Simone did not support Lisa’s desire to join the U.S. Air Force or enter the music business and she disinherited her from her will.
Stroud said, “I’d like to think if she had taken two seconds to think about her behavior she would have done things differently but I’m not sure.”
In an attempt to explain her mother’s behavior Lisa says, “My mother was angry with the world and often the only person around to blame was me.”
She also spoke about the nature of her parent’s relationship. “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.”
Sadly, Lisa’s relationship with her father wasn’t great either.
“I had nothing to do with my father before his death.”
Stroud’s father Andrew, who married Simone in 1961, died just two years ago in 2012. It’s a well know fact that Stroud, a former firefighter, managed Nina with beatings to keep her in line.
When Simone left him, by simply leaving her wedding ring behind and moving to Barbados, she took Lisa with her. In the island, she had an affair with the married Prime minister Errol Barrow. When their relationship ended and he basically got rid of Simone, Lisa had to deal with the aftermath.
“I got my first job in Barbados. I was 10 or 11, old enough to file papers. I had no option.”
While in the Caribbean, Simone lost control of her business affairs and was fighting the IRS. In response, she moved to Liberia at the invitation of Miriam Makeba.
It was there that Stroud was a her happiest.
“I went to school there and I lived with a surrogate family. But then my mother decided to join me and it went downhill. At 12 I ended up driving around on my own in a Pontiac Catalina running errands. I had to grow up fast.’”