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Fan Cast Favorite India.Arie Speaks Bluntly About Zoe Saldana's Nina Simone Film

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 7, 2012 at 11:06AM

Let me preface this by saying that we certainly aren't trying to beat this thing to death (we've intentionally skipped a lot of the news related to the project, since it was announced, opting to post only those items that reveal more info about it); but I thought this was worth sharing, if only because India.Arie is one of 3 names (the others being Adepero Oduye and Viola Davis) that have been mentioned quite a lot, here and all over the web, in discussious about who should have played Nina Simone, over Zoe Saldana.
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India.Arie

Let me preface this by saying that we certainly aren't trying to beat this thing to death (we've intentionally skipped a lot of the news related to the project, since it was announced, opting to post only those items that reveal more info about it); but I thought this was worth sharing, if only because India.Arie is one of 3 names (the others being Adepero Oduye and Viola Davis) that have been mentioned quite a lot, here and all over the web, in discussious about who should have played Nina Simone, over Zoe Saldana.

And after being asked about starring in a Nina Simone movie for, as she says, years, Arie finally speaks on the project, and, of course, Zoe Saldana's casting. 

In reading her words, I was actually surprised at just how fiery and blunt she is, which you can read below in full (she posted it at NinaSimone.com by the way):

WHAT I FEEL ABOUT THE NINA SIMONE MOVIE:

People have been asking me for weeks, months, years about a Nina Simone movie, when I heard about Zoe Saldana being cast I reserved judgement, you NEVER know what People are MEANT to do.

SO TODAY I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone…

AND I THINK THEY ARE RIDICULOUS!

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.

THAT ASIDE for a second, this just looks WEIRD, it looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose … REALLY?!!!!

DOES NOT THE ONE NINA SIMONE’S LEGACY DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS?

If they were going to pick a person who looks NOTHING like Nina Simone … why not her daughter Simone *shrug* just saying …

As hard as Nina had to fight for what she wanted BECAUSE she was black and looked the way she did … THIS looks like a parody. If it has to be FORCED this hard something’s not right!

I am VERY opinionated about music, I can dissect VOCALS ALL DAY, I don’t KNOW ACTING LIKE THAT! But I trust that through her obvious admiration of Nina, that Zoe Saldana can pull off the portrayal ENERGETICALLY …

But these images … just make me feel … SAD. Not because I want to play Nina Simone but because IT FEELS OUT OF PLACE WITH WHAT NINA SIMONE MEANS IN AN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORICAL CONTEXT!!!! (yes I yelled just now – I am emotional about OTHER things today, and I’m riding the wave of that, but this IS WHAT I FEEL…)

I have always been OPEN to playing Nina, but I never saw its as my RIGHT! I am clearly Nina Simone’s Physical Heir Apparent, THAT doesn’t mean I SHOULD play her, its been tossed around A LOT, for a LONG TIME. I back down because I feel her legacy deserves better than a FIRST TIME MOVIE ACTRESS, I’m like that about my heroes. If I ever FELT I was truly CALLED to play her, I would. And maybe Zoe Saldana REALLY is BEING CALLED SPIRITUALLY TO PLAY THIS ROLE …

But I DO NOT LIKE these PICTURES. AT ALL.

SEEING Nina Simone changed my life, when I was 17 My cousin and I tried to call her … Whole NOTHER story ….

I will END this by saying I think VIOLA DAVIS should be playing Nina Simone.


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