In celebration of Juneteenth, ABC’s documentary series Soul of a Nation aired a two-hour television special, Juneteenth: Together We Triumph, hosted by Leslie Odom Jr. and featuring performances by Jimmie Allen, Leon Bridges, and Ms. Chloe Bailey of the sister singing duo Chloe x Halle.
For her part , Bailey sang Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” one of the legendary singer’s most covered and recognizable songs. Like most performers Chloe didn’t just sing — she danced, she entertained, and she owned the stage. Unfortunately, not everyone watching appreciated her sensual choreography; upset viewers flocked to Chloe’s Instagram to claim she was disrespecting the holiday meant to celebrate liberation for slaves in Galveston, Texas.
The out of pocket comments Bailey received are in stark contrast to what Nina Simone’s own granddaughter said of the performance. On her Twitter, RéAnna Simone Kelly showed her support for the cover. “Everyone’s coming at @ChloeBailey for her performance of my grandmother Nina Simone’s song “Feeling Good.” But what y’all don’t understand is that grandma was a free spirited woman herself!!” she wrote. “She would’ve loved that performance as much as I do! Relax. Chloe killed it.” She went on to say, “Grandma was unapologetically herself. She was a muhhhfuckin badass woman who did what she wanted when she wanted. She was a sexual woman and she expressed that. Educate yourselves !! If grandma could she probably would’ve done that performance herself” followed by two laughing emojis.
Bailey graciously replied to Kelly tweeting, “thank you so much. your grandmother!! what a legacy!!! i will forever x always love Ms. Simone. she has always inspired me.”
thank you so much. your grandmother!! what a legacy!!! i will forever x always love Ms. Simone. she has always inspired me 🖤🤎 https://t.co/kfANrRy1ZX— Chlöe (@ChloeBailey) June 19, 2021
Despite the critics, celebrities and fans like Ryan Destiny, Storm Reid, and Reginae Carter all praised Chloe’s performance on Instagram. But the best response of all has to be from Chloe’s sister who completely drowned out the haters. “MY SISTER MOTHERFUCKING MURDERED THAT PERFORMANCE!!!!!!! I TOLD YALL !!! WE ARE ALL SO PROUD OF YOU!!!” Bailey tweeted — if all caps don’t scream “leave my sister alone,” then I don’t know what does.
In a Good Morning America interview on Monday morning, Chloe responded to the critics and explained that her inspiration for the performance came from Simone’s own confidence, spirit, and honesty.
“I’m just so happy to see that her granddaughter loved it, and I’m happy that there are people that loved it as well.” she said.
Singer @ChloeBailey talks about her new version of Nina Simone’s song “Feeling Good.”#ChloeOnGMAhttps://t.co/zlYb4zmugN pic.twitter.com/p5h9MdELNn— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 21, 2021