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Zoe Saldana Is Apparently Taking Over For Mary J. Blige To Play Nina Simone

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by Tambay A. Obenson
August 13, 2012 11:05 PM
167 Comments
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Sooo... last we reported on this project, it had been financed to the tune of $10 million, had been cast (Mary J. Blige & David Oyelowo in the starring roles), and was booked to start filming at the end of May last year, much to the chagrin of a lot of you folks.

That obviously DID NOT happen, as was initially reported.

Why? It had to be delayed until October, because, as you may recall, Mary J Blige later signed on to co-star in Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise and the rest of that film's cast.

I tend to get a little worried about projects that, at first, are announced as sure-things, and then get pushed around for one reason or another, no matter how valid.

Skip ahead to earlier today, around mid-day, when S&A reader Akimbo posted a comment on an old Nina Simone post saying that Zoe Saldana had taken over for Mary J, but without a source link.

That's a rumor I'd heard previously, but didn't want to post until I had further confirmation. After Akimbo's comment, I was able to verify via 2 separate sources (1 a crew member who is attached to work on the project), that Zoe Saldana is attached to star as Nina Simone in the same film that has long been in development, with Cynthia Mort, whose credits include writing and producing several episodes of popular TV series like Roseanne and Will And Grace, still listed as the screenwriter and director of the project. 

If you recall, the film will focus on Simone’s relationship with Paris-based manager Clifton Henderson who will be played by Oyelowo.

Still no official announcement just yet; however, if my sources are correct, and this actually moves forward, I'd need some convincing that Zoe Saldana can embody Nina Simone. The choice makes little sense to me.

So much for our recommendation that Adepero Oduye star as Nina Simone.

But stay tuned; I'm working to get the full story on this... assuming there is one.

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167 Comments

  • AllPeople (AP) Gifts [soaptalk@hotmail.com] | November 14, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    .
    There is actually no such thing as a so-called "Light-Skinned
    Black" person ... but rather ... such individuals and groups
    are actually people who are of a 'Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed' (MGM-Mixed) Lineage that some may
    have been pressured or encouraged to ignore or downplay.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4160
    .
    People of Mixed-Race lineage should NOT feel pressured to
    'identify' according to any standards other than one's own.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4157
    .
    The legal -application of the racist-'One-Drop Rule'
    (ODR) was banned in the U.S. way back in 1967.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4162
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341891410164
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4187
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341281410225
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    Listed below are related Links of 'the facts' of the histories
    of various Mixed-Race populations found within the U.S.:
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    There is no proof that a 'color-based slave hierarchy'
    (or that 'color-based social-networks') ever existed
    as common entities -- within the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4154
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4153
    .
    It was the 'Rule of Matriliny (ROM) -- [a.k.a. 'The Rule of Partus'
    (ROP)] -- and NOT the racist-'One-Drop Rule' (ODR) -- that was
    used to 'create more enslaved people' on the continental U.S.
    .
    This is because the chattel-slavery system that was
    once found on the antebellum-era, continental U.S.
    was NOT "color-based" (i.e. "racial") -- but rather
    -- it was actually "mother-based" (i.e. 'matrilineal').
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/309460495741441
    .
    There were many ways (and not solely the sexual assault
    and sexual exploitation of the women-of-color) in which
    'white' lineage entered the familial bloodlines of
    enslaved-people found on the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4238
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4239
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4240
    .
    An 'Ethnic' category is NOT the
    same thing as a "Race" category:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4236
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/300777016632181
    .
    Other Topics:
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/279223868853420
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/164203590359746
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/notes/%C2%ADallpeople-gifts/the-facts-on-m%C2%ADixed-race/321878451159708
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .

  • Vaughn | October 18, 2012 10:15 AMReply

    I think Kim Wayans could pass as a good resemblence for Nina Simone. But just not quite sure she is the sort of actor that could fill that role, and be believable (pigeonholed into a certain role).

  • Get it together America | August 31, 2012 9:50 AMReply

    Nina Simone deserves to be portrayed by an actress who can capture her essence. When Hollywood was looking for someone to play Marilyn Monroe, they picked an actress (Michelle Williams) with similar feature to portray America's iconic sex symbol. Just like it wouldn't make sense to cast a Latina woman for the role of Marilyn Monroe, it doesn't make sense for Nina Simone either.

  • Brian Rushing | August 20, 2012 12:14 PMReply

    In all honesty, as difficult as it is for a woman of color to land a leading role in Hollywood we should really be celebrating the fact that Meryl Streep was not put in black face and signed on for the role (nothing against Meryl Streep). As a people, we need to move past the light skin vs. dark skin debate and advance ourselves academically and fiscally.

    To sit here and debate the merits of casting a movie role that will not put a thin dime in any of our pockets highlights why the black community is in such dire straits: WE FOCUS ON THE WRONG D@MN THINGS!!!

    Black men, stop spraying kids all over the place that you have no intention of helping to raise. Black women, stop laying down with men that are not making an honest effort at being in a committed relationship, settling down, having kids and being a good provider.

    We have so much potential and yet we squander it at every turn on things that do not matter. When we embrace and nurture that potential nothing can hold us back.

  • Karen | November 1, 2012 7:46 AM

    I so agree with your logic..I mean really?

  • Darfur | October 4, 2012 7:48 AM

    @Concerned Sista - I get the same feeling seeing Zoe Saldana in the staring role of "Colombiana." She should be a Latina, not an African. It's an insult to all Latinas everywhere. There are Black actors in everything. Then some casting agent thinks they need to put an African in place of a Latina. What were they thinking. Zoe doesn't remotely represent the beautiful Latinas from Colombia. It's a disgrace.

  • Concerned Sista | August 27, 2012 5:04 AM

    Brian, as usual, when conversations such as these come to fruition, many black people love bringing up the plight of the black community which has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. Usually, the person making the comment fails to connect the dots.

    Do you know who Nina Simone was. She was a very afrocentric black woman who often faced discrimination due to her black skin and black features. The purpose is to tell her story, not some trump up story by Jimmy Iovine and Cynthia Mort. They didn't even have decency to consult with the family.

    Herein lies the problem Racism is at hand like it always has been. If those pioneers back in the day didn't fight to get the images of blacks changed on TV, we'd still be watching Amos and Andy. Having Zoe play this role is a slap in the face to black actress everywhere. A movie should represent the essence of a person, and Zoe does not (appearance wise) resemble Nina in any way, shape or form.

    This is the issue, and it's an important one. We aren't starting the light skinned/dark skinned issue. It's been going on all over the world, and it's time it stops. Be angry at the ones that perpetuate it by saying light is right. That didn't start and it won't end with us.

  • Paul | August 19, 2012 10:15 PMReply

    To me a good film will get Box Office from word of mouth, Emphasis on GOOD. It has to have a good script, good actors, and a good director. If it's a good film, people will be encouraged to see it by friends and relatives and there will be buzz on the internet. A drama isn't FX heavy, so it shouldn't cost a fortune to make, and a good film can make money for years and years after its made. In addition, the film will benefit audiences, the cast of the film, and the company that produces it. Does it need to be any more complicated or easy than this?

  • Tiffany | August 18, 2012 2:54 AMReply

    I'm a big fan of Zoe Saldana. I think she would do a great job!

  • Takes One | August 17, 2012 8:24 PMReply

    Okay...The fact that Zoe Saldana is being sought to play Nina Simone isn't as absurd as you may think. Granted, she looks nothing like Simone so the transformation will be interesting. What's absurd is perhaps the lack of knowledge of how the film industry works by some of the posters here. Adepero would be a great Nina, but can she open a 10 million film? So many of US didn't pay to see her debut in Pariah, so there's that. Viola Davis would be a brilliant Nina, but can she open a $10 million film? So many of US had a problem that she played a maid in 2011, we didn't give her the opportunity to do so. The last time I checked, India Arie isn't an actress, and has never done so. Can she open a 10 million dollar film? Who knows.

    Zoe opened a 40 million dollar film that basically broke even. In hollywood standards that's a failure but given the alternatives regarding black actresses who can open a film, I'm willing to bet hollywood execs will take it. Stop complaining and get out there and support BLACK ACTORS/ACTRESSES or trust me, you won't have anything to complain about in the future because Angelina Jolie will be hired to play a black woman AGAIN!

  • Concerned Sista | August 27, 2012 5:07 AM

    Let me ask you something? If someone is going to see or be interested in a film depicting Nina Simone who was clearly a black woman, do you think the movie goers are interested in some watered-down version of her. Are they not aware that Nina was...black. So if they are interested in her story, why would it matter if the actress who plays her looks like her?

    I'm sick of people making these excuses about "box office appeal." Didn't Viola Davis not win an Academy award?

  • Tiffany | August 18, 2012 10:52 AM

    WORLDWIDE, Star Trk made $385mil with a budget of $150mil in 2009, Death of funeral made $49mil with a budget of $21mil in 2010. Takers made $69mil with a budget of $37mil in 2010. Colombiana made $60mil with a budget $40mil in 2011. I hope these ball park figure make sense for everyone. All you have to do is look up Zoe Saldana on boxofficemojo.com. There are other film financial websites but boxofficemojo is more user friendly. Unfortunately, it's not about black, white, dark skinned or light skinned. It's about the green and simple arithmetic. Best wishes. Fyi, I am a film producer.

  • jazman49 | August 18, 2012 6:51 AM

    Zoe is talented and in addition to not being right for the role of Nina Simone, she is what they call in the Music Industry, a one hit wonder. What other film, other than Avatar, and she has done quite a few, that was a box office smash? Where is her track record in that department?

  • Chupamelo | August 17, 2012 5:45 AMReply

    Actually she's not that much of a good actress...She just don't fit in movies too good. She'll die out soon. She did a Movie called "Colombiana...jaja what a joke of a movie. it made no sense. it drag'd the plot was all over the place...and the shit is, they should have put a real colombian Bitch on it...Zoe don't look shit like one, she's half P.Rican/dominhaitian.

  • Corina | September 20, 2012 11:28 PM

    CHUPAMELO? What an ugly nickname you have, kind or porno (que te chupen que cosa?)
    Any ways, please know that in Colombia we have black, mulatos, mixed, indian, etc.... so Zoe Salda1a could be a Colombiana girl al the way. Come to Barranquilla or Cartagena in Colombia and see, OK?

  • Nemesis | August 16, 2012 11:35 PMReply

    LOL. Hilarious... in a sad way. I recall, not so long ago, how people were shouting down the person who had the temerity to petition against Thandie Newton playing a woman of full Igbo parentage. So what if she isn't Nigerian, eh? Being half-African should have sufficed. And now, Zoe Saldana, an Afro-Latina woman, gets dragged through the coals for being too light-skinned, slim and with fine features (fine as in keen/sharp - so back down). Short-sighted, much? Can't see her in the role myself (would be chomping at the bit to see Viola Davis play Nina Simone), but if the gradual fading of African peoples is part of Hollywood's plan, and many people of the diaspora are happy to go along with it (when it doesn't mean depicting anyone not of their own culture or nationality) then it isn't really much of a surprise.

  • Concerned Sista | August 27, 2012 5:11 AM

    Yes, she is dragged through the mud because H'wd has a tendency to act as if dark black women don't exist. Nina was a dark-skinned black woman. Why get a woman who looks NOTHING like her claiming a lighter version of a black woman will pull in more green.

    I call it racism to the 100th degree, pure and simple covered up with leaves. For those accepting these practices, they are apart of the problem because they are feeding the beast. It's really that simple...at least to me who is a black woman. A part of Nina's heart was her blackness. If Jimmy and Cynthia want to portray anything but that, cool, but what not be a TRUE depiction of Nina.

  • NO BRAINER | August 16, 2012 2:09 PMReply

    This has to be the most commented blog in S&A history. I'm shocked. All complaints where people are blaming Zoe and the film industry for her getting the role as opposed to looking at themselves in the mirror.

  • Concerned Sista | August 27, 2012 5:13 AM

    If you read and understood what the complaints were about, you're right; it has a lot to do with us "looking in the mirror." We look in the mirror and see Nina Simone. We look at the woman playing her, and don't see Nina. Are you aware of who Nina was? If not, find out before making a comment. That's the no brainer.

  • artbizzy | August 16, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    Read "Put a Spell on You" ( you could probably get it on Kindle) and buy all her music. Otherwise,

  • artbizzy | August 16, 2012 1:22 PM

    message got cut off ---- Otherwise, (shrug)

  • Dalia May | August 16, 2012 1:13 PMReply

    Shouldn't there be an uprising of some sort about this? I signed the petition at http://ow.ly/d1fWz (ya'll should too), but isn't there more that can be done? Perhaps create a Facebook page? I mean, it it got Betty White as a host of SNL, perhaps a large proclimation that "This Will Not Stand" could actually change Hollywood's/the producer's/the casting director's minds and consider actresses such as Adepero Oduye. Someone even mentioned Rutina Wesley for the part and, though I find her features to be as angular as Zoe's, I'd accept her in the role over the current pick because she is a positive representation of how beautiful dark skin is.

    I have no issues with Saldana being cast in roles that require dark skin. I wasn't too happy about her being cast as Uhura (actually, I was quite livid when announced), but after seeing the film felt she did an excellent job. However, when we a have visual image of the character, and that character is very much a woman with dark skin, kinky hair and broad features , casting Saldana is just outright wrong.

    I can't believe the individuals involved in this would lack enough forethought and intelligence to even think this would be an acceptable idea. This is Whitewashing for the sake of selling to white audiences and attempting to inaccurately "beautify" the world in a way that just isn't real. It needs to stop. It really does.

  • julius hollingsworth | August 16, 2012 7:34 AMReply

    I still say Lauren Hill is the actresss ,yes she was actor working before she became a name rapper/singer to play Nina Simone and capture who this lady was for this generation.Oh well
    I hope she does a good job.I mean Zoe....if she decides to do it.

  • Carlton Jordan | August 15, 2012 7:08 PMReply

    Any more credible sources for this story?

  • kid chaos | August 15, 2012 6:54 PMReply

    Marry a white man zoe will jump to do this part.How about whoopi she has that same man look that nina had.

  • CarltonJordan | August 15, 2012 7:13 PM

    But Nina was married to a white man too...so whats ur point?

  • Nadine | August 15, 2012 6:45 PMReply

    WHAT NINA THOUGHT: "I do not believe in mixing of the races. You can quote me. I don't believe in it, and I never have. I've never changed. I've never changed my hair. I've never changed my color, I have always been proud of myself, and my fans are proud of me for remaining the way I've always been. I married a white man one time, but he was a creep.
    Nina Simone, Nina Simone Interview - http://africanamericanquotes.org/nina-simone.html

  • lauren | August 17, 2012 1:19 AM

    @Bondgirl... you're reading way too much in my sardonicism. I don't care that Nina called her white husband a creep, he probably was. And I was merely being sarcastic in light of her many relationships that black men aren't perfect either and if one was to base their opinions on an entire race of men because of a bad relationship...ie my boyfriend was: (fill in any ethnicity) and he treated me like shit so I won't date anyone of his ethnicity again...well that kinda logic, unless one was lucky enough to find their soul mate for life one their first date ever, would solve the over population crisis in one generation! lol. And no, a woman doesn't have to have a "perfect angel" as a husband to validate her preference; which isn't a problem really because there's no such thing; male or female.

  • bondgirl | August 16, 2012 11:50 PM

    Lauren, I deduced your emotion from the way you took umbrage with Nina calling her husband a creep...as if to defend the honor of good white men. Why does a woman have to have a "perfect angel" for a black husband to qualify as her preference? How about cultural compatiblity and understanding of racial stressors? No biggie, I just didn't get the rationale for dissecting the sista's words.

  • lauren | August 16, 2012 6:22 PM

    @Bondgirl..." you have an emotionally invested interest in defending multiculturalism" I do? On an emotional level? You know me like that? True, I'm not offended by people choosing whoever they want but I simply found it amusing that Ms Simone's opinion was based on a bad marriage. And yes, I'm aware that statement was from that era as well as Ms Simone was all over the map emotionally, mentally and that her logic was certainly skewed by her experiences. The "MAN THING", I stand by when it comes to women celebs who are earning more than their mates, unfortunately, trouble always seems to follow.

  • bondgirl | August 16, 2012 5:31 PM

    Lauren, you are taking Nina's comment out of context, because you have an emotionally invested interest in defending multiculturalism. Black people choosing to marry/date within their own race should never be offensive. Remember, when she made those statements in the 60's, 70% of black households were run by men who took care of their children. When white men today are heading their homes at a higher rate than black men, can you really say "not a black thing or a white thing... a MAN thing!"?? There's little reason to be so reactionary because people are not impressed by the bluest eye. Plus, Nadine was simply giving perspective as to Nina's essence, which would be in favor of having an unorthodox casting for this film.

  • Nadine | August 15, 2012 7:59 PM

    @Lauren - chile... I just posted the quote. I had to struggle with posting the entire quote or not, but I wanted to be authentic to her statement. What I thought was important in the quote was the "I've never changed my hair. I've never changed my color,...". Ms. Simone was dead a$$ about race and anti-desegreation, so one has to wonder if those involved in the creation of this movie are working through the lens of Simone's beliefs. Don't kill the messenger! I was shocked when I read that quote and more!

  • lauren | August 15, 2012 7:47 PM

    @Nadine-So her white husband was a creep...how did the black men in her life fare? Perfect angels? Right! Lol... not a black thing or a white thing... a MAN thing! Especially when the woman is a celeb; earning more money and attention than her mate.

  • Nadine | August 15, 2012 5:51 PMReply

    The thing is Nina had a very distinctive look. A look that was readily not preferred even amongst Black American populations. If we are to believe that, from birth on, Nina's being, her body, had nothing to do with the choices she made, in life and in her chosen fields of excellence then we are all fooling ourselves.

  • Tambay | August 15, 2012 5:15 PMReply

    Calling Akimbo - email me please (obensont@gmail.com).

  • Donella | August 15, 2012 4:56 PMReply

    To the alternative suggestions of Viola Davis, Adepero Oduye, Anika Noni Rose, and Lauryn Hill... I'll add on Tichina Arnold (singer), Audra MacDonald (singer/stage performer), Simbi Khali (stage performer).

  • Scottie Lowe | August 15, 2012 4:18 PMReply

    Pure and simple, African American beauty and talent does not solely reside at the light-skinned end of the color spectrum. Dr. Simone DESERVES, and we collectively demand, an actress to portray her who can not only capture her grace and beauty, but also her musical gifts. It is in my very humble but infinitely and exponentially more-informed opinion if you seriously considered Zoe Saldana for the role for more than a fraction of a nanosecond, that India.Irie would be the IDEAL candidate for the role. She is gorgeous! Her beauty is undeniable and she greatly resembles the The High Priestess of Soul. She is musically gifted. Now, I've never made a biopic before but I would have to imagine that having someone who understands music would be a more conducive option than someone untrained. And because she exists, no thrives, in an industry where she must compete with talentless light-skinned bimbos, her social politics and struggles mirror that of Dr. Simone. I can't imagine someone more suited for this particular role. She was made for it. Now, you don't have to take my advice. Hire whomever you so desire. It's your film. I can, however, assure you that I won't spend a near-nickel on a film that portrays Nina Simone with an actress more suited to play Lena Horne.

  • Orville | August 15, 2012 2:40 PMReply

    Zoe Saldana talks about being a Latina all the time in the media but she doesn't seem to mind taking on iconic roles meant for black women! It was a disgrace that Saldana for the female lead in Star Trek so many black actresses would of killed that part yet it went to a mixed race actress. Now Nina Simone might go to a woman that doesn't even LOOK like her. Saldana is the wrong choice she should follow Halle's lead and have the grace to step aside. When delusional Aretha Franklin wanted Halle for the lead in her biopic Halle said no because she knew she couldn't do it justice. Zoe needs to step aside and let a black actress have a chance at film glory.

  • afrolatinasRBlack | August 20, 2012 10:54 PM

    Zoe is a black actress. To say that she is not is to deny her the right to be who she is. You are not the race police. I am so tired of discussions that are only there to divide people and not bring them together. There are more blacks in Latin America than there are in the United States.

  • Not true info | August 17, 2012 5:42 AM

    Zoe is not born in DominHAiti...Shes Born in the Bronx and is half P.Rican/dominiHaitian

  • Donella | August 15, 2012 4:55 PM

    Every and every single time Zoe Saldana has been asked about her race, she said she was BLAAAAAACK, each and every time. Each. And. EVERY. Single. Time. You'll see her on the cover of Latina, because she is from the Dominican Republic. But she has always claimed to be Black/of African descent. She's never, not even one time, run from her race--Black/African. Other actresses from the DR do run from African descent--Judy Reyes for one. Having said all that, I do agree that the role of Nina Simone would be better served by another actress.

  • Nadell | August 15, 2012 2:02 PMReply

    Why don't they ask Kim Kardashian to play Nina Simone!
    I just can't.....the entire production/crew of this film needs to just STOP and evaluate.
    I absolutely love MJB as an artist and Saldana as an actress but for Simone - NO WAY should their names even be in the arena.
    If Blige or Saldana are cast as Simone that production company & director need to be sued for defamation of character and fraud!

  • Donella | August 18, 2012 4:46 PM

    Halle hasn't played with her race. She's consistently claimed a Black identity. Rosario however, I do have my doubts about.

  • Orville | August 16, 2012 5:44 PM

    @Donella maybe at the beginning of Zoe's career she talked about being black BUT the more high profile she got she was saying she's Latin this and Latin that. When Colombiana came out all she talked about was being a Hispanic. Zoe plays with race the same way Halle Berry does which is an advantage the mixed race actresses got. Rosario Dawson also talks about being a Latina all the time yet never about her black heritage.

    This is basically a white washing by Hollywood giving an important film role meant for a black actress to a mixed race Hispanic that's disgusting and shameful!

  • Carlton Jordan | August 15, 2012 7:00 PM

    Zoe Saldana describes herself by saying "I’m just Zoe. Not a little bit Dominican, not a little bit Puerto Rican, none of that silliness… I am what you want me to be if that’s what it takes for you to overcome your insecurities. As a Latina, I think we should be very proud of our heritage. We tend to look for European roots and reject the indigenous and the African, and that is disgusting. Being Latin is a mix of everything. I want my people to not be as insecure, and to adore what we are because it’s beautiful.”

  • BluTopaz | August 15, 2012 1:46 PMReply

    How do you say house nigger in Spanish: Zoe thinks Black actresses should stop complaining about racism. "“We have a Black president right now, So why the f— would I sit down and talk about how hard it is for Black women in Hollywood when there’s a Black president in my country?” >>>>>>>>>>
    http://www.askkissy.com/2011/09/09/zoe-saldana-says-black-actresses-need-to-stop-complaining-cause-we-have-a-black-president/#ixzz23dc6Pbwe

  • BluTopaz | August 15, 2012 8:21 PM

    JustSaying: your post reminds me of Angela Bassett's very direct comments about why she turned down Monster's Ball -yeah, she would have given a very different reply to Ebony's question. Years ago she also mentioned how she had to fight to have her photo included on the poster for What's Love Got To Do With It--the original had a sketchy outline illustration of a racially ambiguous woman. Her comment: I worked hard to get this role, now they don't want to put my picture on the poster for the life story of a famous Black woman?! Which also reminds me, Taraji Henson is another one who has addressed this madness. But re: Zoe's place of privilege--well some people, once they get to that spot they are extra careful about what they say. Another thing that annoys me about H'wood is the myth that it's so liberal. The erasure of the Black woman's image in cinema is a valid issue, as you noted.

  • justsaying | August 15, 2012 5:48 PM

    @Blutopaz, but I think that would have been the perfect time to address the differences and personalize her struggle and subjectivity as a Black woman. Her why the f--- questions works to overlook her personal struggle and the struggle of many other black actresses who would not be so quick to make such a statement. In fact, I would go as far as to say that she is in a position of privilege to not have such prevalent history shape her thoughts/actions or at least make it seem that way by overlooking it when given the chance to address it. Someone try getting Angela Bassett, Nia Long, or Gabrielle Union to make such statements....

  • BluTopaz | August 15, 2012 5:28 PM

    @JUST SAYING: I could even understand more if she replied with a 'well we have a lot more work to do on that front' kind of statement. But to thoroughly dismiss the valid question with a "why the f--- (maybe she forgot she was talking to conservative Ebony mag and not bossip.com?) clearly indicates where she is coming from. She is entitled to her opinion. But if all this hoopla is true about her portraying an icon of the civil rights era, then it makes her comment even more annoying. "Why do some women of color who evaluate their progress, goals, and drive through the prism of a man of color like its the same struggle?" Yep--that is the main duality of being a woman of color. Knowing when it's in your best interest to understand when to address gender issues, instead of simply being a water carrying mouthpiece.

  • BluTopaz | August 15, 2012 5:05 PM

    @ WOW/CC--Still missing that scroll button and your hit, I see. S'ok (patting wow on the head)

  • WOW | August 15, 2012 4:59 PM

    Stop it shift-shaker, Blutopaz. You can rationalize -- until your heart grows fonder and your pain abates -- in an attempt to win a small talking point, however, as my first response suggested, your comments remains QUESTIONABLE... and that's putting it mildly. Seriously, supporting an indefensible position speaks more negatively about you than anything Zoe said. That reminds me "If you hang around here long enough you'll know that certain posters have "issues" with certain actresses/actors/directors/etc... and will keep spouting the same biased, illogical trash whether you correct them or not" ~ JMac

  • Justsaying | August 15, 2012 4:56 PM

    ..someone tell me what does having a Black MALE president have to do with the struggle of Black FEMALE actors? Why do some women of color who evaluate their progress, goals, and drive through the prism of a man of color like its the same struggle? Also, I've heard that statement that our president is Black so yada yada yada insert b.s here. I think by making these ignorant connections and deductions and then presenting it to media outlets is a form of coonin' and shinin' and can go under the house nigger b.s with a more thorough look if you examine the entire process... including the fact that she is being interviewed for a magazine for African-American cultural ideas perspectives etc.

  • BluTopaz | August 15, 2012 4:29 PM

    dit: "As in, her declaration tha all complaints of racism IN HOLLYWOOD are now officialy pre-Post Racial America-

    @ WOW--Now you can scroll on.

  • BluTopaz | August 15, 2012 4:26 PM

    WOW/CC needs to learn reading comprehension, because I don't stutter: " I have heard the same retort "there's a Black president now, so you all can stop complaining" from White people who accuse of us using the mythical race card". As in, her declaration that all complaints of racism are now officialy pre-Post Racial America-which is the same dismissive reply stated by many Whites who accuse us of using the race card. Which by coincidence, are the same people who refuse to acknowledge their privilege by negating the experience of others. "Please stop Blutopaz." That thing on the right of your monitor? That's called a scroll bar.

  • WOW | August 15, 2012 3:57 PM

    Regardless of how you try to re-frame it, your comment remains highly questionable on several levels. Question: House Nigger? What exactly is that? Zoe is reduced to a house nigger? I'd say that's a questionable reference. Furthermore, your decision to included the voices of white people to your conjucture, adds more questions to your reasoning. So now you've deduced that Zoe was playing the mythuical race card? Questions, questions and more questions. Idris said he was tired of talking about it, so his opinion relieves him of the "house nigger" tag? QUESTIONS... "Complaining" about racism is the path to success -- in your opinion? Please stop Blutopaz. Some times it's better to fold them than hold them. To concede is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of humbleness and self-respect. You blew this one.

  • BluTopaz | August 15, 2012 3:33 PM

    @ WOW-Please. There is nothing "questionable" about declaring a comment like that as being beyond politically safe, and venturing into house nigger territory. You are giving this chick way too much credit, I have heard the same retort "there's a Black president now, so you all can stop complaining" from White people who accuse of us using the mythical race card. You may WANT to believe your lofty interpretation is what she meant, but that is fine. And no, Idris' reply to the question about Hollywood racism was not the same sentiment--he simply stated he was not going to go into that topic at length anymore because he is tired of talking about it. He did NOT say everything is freaking hunky dory because of President Obama. Try again.

  • WOW | August 15, 2012 3:11 PM

    Thank you Akimbo for adding sense and sensibility to Blutopaz's questionable comment. Really, for the life of me I cannot understand what would provoke someone to call an actress a "house nigger" because she thought it's unwise and counter-productive to "complain". Besides, Zoe's reference to President Obama -- in it's basic form -- was saying that complaining about racism was not the impetus nor the driving force behind making that seemingly impossible dream come true. So understanding that truism, it's not ignorant to express one's decision to avoid talking about racism in a public forum (Idris has expressed the same sentiments). It is however an ignorant statement to call an actress a "house nigger" b/c she does not see the purpose nor the rewards for having a vague conversation on race. "It sounds like a political move for her; not a judgement on other black actresses". EXACTLY! The wise pick their fights -- WISELY.

  • misha | August 15, 2012 2:31 PM

    I remember her saying that and thinking how mighty ignorant and condescending she sounded. What in the hell does a black president have to do with the condition of other black folk? I'll answer: NOTHING! LOL Zoe needs to go have a whole stadium full of seats!

  • Akimbo | August 15, 2012 2:10 PM

    Except all she says is that SHE'S not going to sit down and talk about how hard it is for black actresses, not that others shouldn't. It's the author of the article and you frame it that way. It sounds like a political move for her; not a judgement on other black actresses. I'd love to see the entire article for actual context.

  • kenneth | August 15, 2012 1:59 PM

    Black actors shouldn't have to complain. That's what sites like Shadow and Act are here for. If the actor complains, their name goes on that "Difficult; do not hire" list.

  • LeonRaymond | August 15, 2012 11:45 AMReply

    I am sorry I do Love Zoe, I love her in a lot of roles, I love her style, but she is wrong for this part, I look more like Nina Simone than Zoe does and I am a dude who looks nothing like Nina Simone. This is absurd casting, well how about BOW WOW to play Miles Davis, or Jennifer Aniston to play Diana Ross, that's about how absurd this casting sounds. But when they start to truly dissect the script -History Nina's life deeply and her deal with AmericaKKK the project in it's incarnation will never fly, just wait to the musical giants start speaking out, I would want to come out the house after that. Take my word for it when the outcries begin over the casting it sadly enough will be Zoe who will want to leave the country and none of this had to happen that way!!!

  • Jess | August 15, 2012 11:39 AMReply

    David Oyelow needs to run from this one fast as he can. First Mary now ZOE makes it clear the director is not in rhythm with the material and the great woman Nina Simone. He seems to have integrity. This DOES NOT.

  • Scottie Lowe | August 15, 2012 11:34 AMReply

    Sign the petition.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/nina-producers-casting-directors-replace-zoe-saldana-with-an-actress-who-actually-looks-like-nina-simone?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_modal&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=12663912

  • anon | August 15, 2012 11:20 AMReply

    Reminds me of that biracial actress playing harriet tubman now its infesable for a darkskinned actress to play a darkskinned woman and one who was NOT A BEAUTY! Adepero Oduyebut would have been a good pick and nothing against the talented miss saldana but ill definately pass on this project.

  • Nancy Williams | August 15, 2012 8:54 AMReply

    Okay, let us step into realism now. "Mississippi Goddam" sung by dear Zoe--no no. Who is judging ugliness as opposed to raw talent? I am old enough (sigh) to remember all the brown skinned divas of yesteryear. Looks have nothing to do with talent. I can still remember Nina banging on that piano. Stop this inner colorisnm. Most of us have a unique admixture unique to the New World. My dear grandmother Roberta Hawkins West, was light enough to be constantly mistaken for various types of mulatto, Hispanic (or Spanish as it was called back in the day), Mestizo, etc. but when confronted with another language speaker, would say emphatically "I am a colored woman! as she hugged her beloved grandchildren Nancy, Judy and Ricky Williams, us decidedly not mistaken for anything but what we were. Colored, black, Negroe, etc. , complete admixture of our genealogy African yes white possibly, Native American possibly and yes Haitiam from our great grat grandmother, Feliciene Fouche Cromwell.

  • untitled1972 | August 15, 2012 8:38 AMReply

    Epic fail. Disrespectul. And shame on her for accepting the role. I wont go see it baed on the casting problems alone mjb now this. Hollywood could give a rats ass about nina i do recall this is why she left the states in the first place. We are not worthy!

  • shelly | August 14, 2012 8:25 PMReply

    the girl does not eat. isn't a great actress. and is latina. it's such bad casting it's unreal.
    it's a shame because you are right Adepero Oduye would have been an AMAZING choice.

  • Orville | August 14, 2012 7:23 PMReply

    I am so disappointed that Zoe Saldana got this part because she looks NOTHING like Nia Simone. Hollywood seems to think Zoe Saldana can take on ALL the black women roles. First Star Trek now Nina Simone this is a digrace! Nina Simone is NOT black Latina she`s a black American woman. See, Hollywood thinks that by pushing mixed race women and casting them will appease black audiences. This is not going to fly with a lot of people. There are tons of black actresses who would have killed the part. I always felt Mary J Blige was a bad choice anyway because she is NOT an actress she`s a singer. Well I will be skipping this film adaptation because this is not good.

  • bondgirl | August 14, 2012 7:11 PMReply

    I forgot to add who I think would KILL IT. Lauryn Hill. She's out on bail, feeling like the gov't is against her, and she can bring all that angst and pain in her love life/business to the role. That would be a superb comeback role. India.Arie is not a proven lead, and Adepero could be a contender as well.

  • anon | August 15, 2012 11:24 AM

    oh yes india arie would have been good choice she even sounds like her! she could have gotten some acting lessons most inportant thing is the voice. Hollywood has spoken they are no longer intrested in black women at ALL i think Black actresses need to go elsewhere I suggest nollywood for a start.

  • ALM | August 15, 2012 11:09 AM

    @ Bondgirl. Great recommendation. Lauryn would be amazing also.

  • kid chaos | August 14, 2012 6:43 PMReply

    Let be honest her family would be thilled if a pretty bi racial girl played her because this is one ugly chick.

  • Laura | August 15, 2012 11:16 AM

    @ALM. I know you ain't taking little boy Kiddie Chaos seriously. Riddle me this. If your barely toilet trained little brother gave you a curfew, told you where and how to spend your hard earned money, and told you who you can and can not marry, would you take him seriously. No. So why do you take Kiddie Chaos seriously?

  • ALM | August 15, 2012 11:11 AM

    @ Kid Chaos: Hear we go again. It's apparently okay for you and Question to call anyone who doesn't appear to be multi-racial everything but a child of God, but when other posters question the acting ability of some (not all) multi-racial actors, those posters are considered haters. The hypocrisy..........

  • Barbara | August 14, 2012 9:44 PM

    Would you care to show us your face so we can judge whether you are ugly too? Bet you are one of those self-hating slaves with no manners--Massa didn't teach you enough with the rope, apparently. Too bad Nina fought for you Black ass not to be lynched.

  • BluTopaz | August 14, 2012 3:38 PMReply

    Maybe S&A could reach out to Nina's daughter at some point?... (crossing fingers)

  • Laura | August 16, 2012 11:30 AM

    ***Correction*** ---late 1970's to her final years.

  • Laura | August 16, 2012 8:54 AM

    @Nadine. Ok you got me with Cecilia Cruz. I was thinking about Cruz in her later years --late 70's to her final years. But I grew up on Diana Ross and Saldana can do Ross. Remember she's an actress and she may not look like Ross. But the body type and more importantly how she moves with her body, yeah that's Ross. I could see Saldana playing Ross playing Bille Holiday. I can see Saldana playing Ross playing Mahagony. I can see Saldana being cute and delicate playing a Supreme. I can see her playing Ross mentoring a young Michael Jackson during the Studio 54 era. My dollar is on Saldana playing Ross. Particularly as Ross embodying a delicate Black pixie girl and glamorous woman as public personas and a determine career woman behind the scene.

  • Nadine | August 15, 2012 8:11 PM

    NOOO... I thought that might have been inferred, but Zoe and Celia do the SAME THING with their noses and their smiles! If you put their pics side by side... Yes! I grew up on Celia! Believe me, I tried to think of an American singer, but that nose and smile thing... I had to say it. Zoe will have to put on some weight, but no THAT much as a YOUNG Celia! Diana had color issues growing up. Zoe as Diana Ross would be the same problem as this... That's like having Zoe play Lil' Kim... I'm no big fan of Oduye, but Oduye has the same look and feel as Simone...

  • Laura | August 15, 2012 9:37 AM

    I don't know why people think Zoe should play Celia Cruz. Why, because they are both Latinas? Celia Cruz looked very African and she was a thick and curvesous woman. To me that is about as much as a mix-matched as the Nina Simone casting. Diana Ross, yes. Both a young Ross and Saldana have that thin frail body look. But Celia Cruz and Nina Simone, no. Also, why are people touting a singers MJB or Indie Arie, they are not talented thespians. Furthermore they would have to play a woman who is bi-polar --convincingly. Come on, let a trained actress do it. It is sad that people can ONLY pull the name Oduye as the young Nina Simone. That's a testament to the abysmal state of opportunities for young brown/dark skin Black actresses in the movie industry.

  • BluTopaz | August 14, 2012 3:49 PM

    Meant to add, Zoe is too flat (literally and figuratively) to play Celia Cruz if that movie is ever made. I wish studio execs would be creative and start looking at the exceptional pool of talent on Broadway for these types of roles.

  • jeni | August 14, 2012 3:07 PMReply

    *faints* This is a cruel joke, right? Can somebody call India Arie's agent and see if she's interested?!

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