Is Zoe Saldana The Right Woman To Play Nina Simone?

Actress sparks blackface controversy. 

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

An official movie poster and trailer for the new Nina Simone biopic, Nina, has been released and the reactions are not good. Fans are blasting the film for casting Zoe Saldana, whose skin has been visibly darkened and her features altered—what many deem to essentially be blackface—to play the legendary singer.


Even Nina Simone’s family has disapproved of the casting choice. “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice," her daughter has said. “I love Zoe Saldana’s work. I’ve seen some of her movies more than once and really enjoy what she brings to the screen. As an actress I respect her process, but I also know that there are many actresses out there, known or not, who would be great as my mother.”

The debate here is that Zoe is Puerto Rican and Dominican and while she's a woman of color maybe the role would have been better suited to a black actress who actually looks like Nina.

Zoe's appearance aside, critics find her stance on race to undermine what Nina herself stood for as a black activist. “There’s no such thing as people of color,” the Dominican-American actress has saidDo you think Zoe Saldana should play Nina Simone? Watch the trailer below.




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