Exclusive: Zoe Saldana Defends Nina Simone Casting
Apparently, Black folks playing Black folks is a problem in Hollywood too. Actress Zoe Saldana is dealing with that reality following the trailer debut of Nina, an upcoming spring biopic about legendary singer Nina Simone.
Zoe’s casting of Miss Simone was bashed nearly four years ago when it was first announced, and unfortunately for her, nothing has changed following the release of the trailer. That’s mainly because, in what has to be a form of ironic Blackface, Saldana wears a wig, prosthetic nose and dark makeup to achieve Nina’s celebrated features in the film.
As Hollywood’s lack of diversity remains a hot button issue, many are wondering why producers didn’t hire someone with features similar to Simone’s to play the role instead of dressing up Saldana. The trailer and official poster has Black Twitter baffled, and many have not been kind in the hours following the assets release.
Nina Simone didn’t write Four Women to have her actual skin color demeaned for a movie about her life. Come on now.
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) March 2, 2016
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) March 1, 2016
Man Nina Simone didn’t deserve this.
— Disney Hall (@disneeyyy) March 2, 2016
I am still legit Pissed they would put Zoe Saldana in blackface, a wig and prosthetic nose rather hire a dark actress to play Nina Simone!
— Becky Supporter (@Imogen_Rising) March 2, 2016
But Zoe is defending her role in Nina, telling HipHollywood her intentions are pure. “I’m doing it for my sisters, I’m doing it for my brothers and I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me, so that is my truth and that set me free,” she says in an exclusive interview with HipHollywood.com.
As for the film’s inevitable criticism following its release, she adds, “If it comes back in a negative fashion or a positive, I’m going to keep my chin up because that’s who I am and that’s who I’ll be and Nina was like that too. I did it all out if love, out of love for Nina, out of love for my people and who I am and my pride of being a Black woman, a Latina woman, an American woman, and that’s my truth.”
Nina is in theaters this April. You can check out the trailer below.