Zoe Saldana Responds To Criticism Of Her Playing Nina Simone

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by Sergio
February 27, 2013 11:19 AM
125 Comments
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I think it's fair to say that of those who know that Zoe Saldana is playing Nina Simone in an upcoming movie about her life, about roughly  98.2% of them, think that it's an outrage and an insult that she's playing the part.

O.K. Maybe I exaggerated. It's more like 98.1%.

So it was inevitable that, at some point, Ms. Saladna would respond to all the criticism and attacks that she's been on the receiving end of; and she did just that, this weekend, at a pre-Oscar celebration event.

Take a look and tell us your thoughts:

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125 Comments

  • Ijeoma | October 23, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    Black Americans have alot of deep seated issues, a legacy of slavery, Zoe Saldana is of African heritage why should she not play a role because she is slightly lighter in skin tone?? Shame on them to show this lack of solidarity. Black Americans do not have a monopoly on blackness half of them do not even know where they orignate from in Africa! Yet they feel that they can spout and spew nonsense.
    And before you attack me I am a half african Nigerian woman of Igbo descent who knows her history back 550 years and trust me you all should shut up and stop complaining!

  • Christopher | April 19, 2013 8:34 PMReply

    Zoe is a smart woman. She should have known that she wasn't right for the role.

  • BA | April 19, 2013 8:09 PMReply

    My Husband is Fully Black And Looks Mixed And Has The Whitest White Man's Pinocchio Nose You Have Ever Seen. Not All Black Have African Features. That Is Why We Are Considered Black Americans Non Of Us Were Born In Africa Therefore Non Of Us Are African. Just African Heritage, But So Does Latinos Have African Heritage.

  • BlackSista | April 19, 2013 8:01 PMReply

    This site is racist and doesn't speak for all black women. Newsflash people Black women also date white men. So she can't be black because she dates white men? If that's her preference then so be it. None of us, Blacks born in America are African. Yes we have an African heritage / ethnicity but our Nationality is American and our our race is Black because we all all mixed with something or another. I understand that she is Latina but they too have African heritage.. So does Dominicans and Moroccans.. Zoe looks black and she is black.

  • Bruh | March 8, 2013 1:26 PMReply

    Obviously. Zoe is between White guys, so she needed something to keep her busy until another one comes along. This is the most absurd casting in quite some time. As bad as Aretha, with her gigantic ego, suggesting Halle play her, in a film. Halle had the foresight a-n-d common sense to know she was not a good match for that role, and wisely refused to really consider it. If only Zoe had as much wisdom. You don't have to be a clone of the person being portrayed, but it helps to have something physically in common, especially when Black. This is why Brandy should play Venus Williams in any possible movie, and not Monica. Its why Halle was so great as Dorothy Dandridge, and why Jamie was superb as Ray Charles. It was easy to envision them as the people they played. NO ONE WILL LOOK AT ZOE, AND THINK NINA SIMONE!!! If anything, they will think, "Won't someone give this hoe a sandwich???"

  • Carl | March 10, 2013 5:56 PM

    @BRUH

    Did your momma have any kids that lived or did you learn to be a dumbass over time? STFU nicca!

  • Tensy | March 10, 2013 5:24 PM

    It is very very obvious, you just DO NOT like Zoe Saldana. You most likely live a boring life and find satisfaction by criticizing Miss Saldana.

    I find Zoe very talented and more than capable of playing Nina Simone's role.

    Take a look at yourself, maybe next time you will think twice about making such comments. Have a little class!!!!

  • Nita | March 5, 2013 11:13 PMReply

    Would you see Meryl Steep ever play a whore? Or a maid?
    Why couldn't Steven Speilberg cast a black actor to play Lincoln? Not believable? Why not. Daniel Day Lewis is British.
    Would you see a black actor play Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netayanhu? A jewish person in any production? Why not.
    But it's called Acting, right.

  • What's Your Fucking Point You Lunatic? | March 6, 2013 12:55 AM

    Meryl Streep played a maid onstage, Lincoln was white so is Lewis, Simone was black so is Saldana. Neither Lewis nor Saldana look much like their subjects so so stage makeup & prosthetics were employed.

  • Nita | March 5, 2013 11:00 PMReply

    Would you see Viola Davis play the Queen of England? Or Margret Thatcher? Or Golda Meyer?No and why not. But she's an actress, right.

  • Lauren | March 2, 2013 2:42 PMReply

    Any film a celebrity's family is happy with, isn't telling the whole story... Bottom line is, when anyone decides to be a public figure, whether in the entertainment business or politics; their life becomes part of the public domain and liberties will be taken; tragedies and triumphs will be made larger or smaller depending on who's telling the story. That's the way it is and always will be. Even if Nina Simone's daughter wrote the screenplay herself, there would be errors and omissions and someone, somewhere would be complaining.

  • Lauren | March 2, 2013 6:23 PM

    Nothing I stated is untrue. Whether a hack or an Nobel laureate writes a biography, it's always going to be from how they interpret the facts, whatever they are... since the very word history is only "His-story". Throw in artistic license and anything goes. (Lincoln the Vampire Slayer?) That's not to say that I'm thrilled with the casting choice but there's a lot of over the top ill will being lobbed at an actress who saw a chance to do something other than The Takers, Guess Who and other gems... and took it. I have a friend who's an actress just as talented as anyone out there, beautiful- the whole package and she's been on less then 10 auditions all year... if someone asked her to play Nina, she'd take it too.

  • BluTopaz | March 2, 2013 3:23 PM

    Guess you didn't read the article about the character who is playing Nina's love interest was a gay man in real life. And how the director admitting that she basically made up that storyline, I guess because Nina's real life story is not interesting enough for this broad.

    This has nothing to do with "complaining", creative license, omitting bad parts of an artist's life, etc. It's all about fabrication for a first time filmmaker hack using Nina's legacy; and Saldana wearing brown shoe polish and a prosthetic nose parading around with a turban with a stoic, 'i'm a proud black woman' look on her mug. And using her own singing voice to emulate Nina Simone. Jesus.

  • anon | March 2, 2013 11:37 AMReply

    of course shes gonna defend her postion she wouldnt have done the role if she didnt agree with it for goodness sakes she chatting pure garbage

  • getawayjordan | March 2, 2013 7:04 AMReply

    I'm not a big Zoe Saldana fan per se, but I have no problem with her playing the part. She was probably chosen because the producers needed a bankable star to get funding for this project, and Zoe is one of the few bankable actresses of color in the business. My problem is with the filmmakers for not reaching out to the family (daughter) of Nina Simone for their input or blessing. Of course (from what I understand) the storyline is so contrived that it is no wonder they chose not to contact the Simone family. But, back to Zoe, she is just an actress trying to work her craft. I don't blame her for this. She is caught in the middle of a bad situation. Too bad. This project will need a strong African-American audience to turn a profit, and it appears that the producers of this film have really gone out of their way to alienate the black community.

  • Alisha-@ZenMamaPolitic | March 2, 2013 2:01 AMReply

    The sad part to all of this; as stated below skillfully by Ann 'Thank You'; is the fact that it's only about racism and whatever latest technique is being used to promote White Supremacy. In all of these cases below..its Hispanic or 'olive-skinned' in-between races. Not to mention, it demeans the very character of Nina Simone & Black Activism~the most important part. If you read..you will see that Nina Simone's daughter hated this idea as well, and stated that it was done as a revenge method against her mother. I agree. Also; I agree that its a swing of revenge against all of African American women. Well.. in that case I say. Batter up. It's gonna be a long game.

  • chillz | March 1, 2013 5:14 PMReply

    So wait... Afrikan Americans are the only Afrikans in the Western hemisphere? I'm pretty sure Zoe, Family were slaves just like Nina's. Just Nutty negroes need to leave that SISTA alone.

  • Triple | March 1, 2013 11:38 AMReply

    She said the right things but why did she look so fake and uncomfortable why saying it???

  • getawayjordan | March 2, 2013 7:12 AM

    Of course Zoe looked uncomfortable.Why wouldn't she? Saldana was trying to address a very delicate subject, and that's the way most people look under those circumstances. I will say that Zoe seems to be handling sensitive topics better than she has in the past (Remember the Ebony interview? Yikes!) As for the 'fake' part, well, fake is in the eye of the beholder. I suppose people who are looking for 'fake' usually get what they expect.

  • Carl | March 1, 2013 4:40 PM

    How was she supposed to look? Smiling constantly while she's talking? Mean mug the camera? Stop reaching.

  • beemooree | March 1, 2013 2:58 PM

    probably bc she felt uncomfortable

  • Ann | March 1, 2013 10:40 AMReply

    To those of you calling others racist for critisizing Saldana, keep in mind that they have PAINTED Saldana's' SKIN DARKER. They placed an AFRO on her head and put PROSTHETIC ON HER NOSE to make it look bigger. Saldana herself has said she identifies as an Afro Latina, not black. This is basically casting a Hispanic woman to play an AFRICAN AMERICAN woman. That is racist. If you look around online and understand what Nina Simone actually did for the Black Woman, you can see why people are in such an uproar. There are a TON of talented actors and actresses of color in this country, but Hollywood is so blind to these undiscovered talents because they cast famous actors and actresses and have them play roles that they do not understand nor can they relate to. Such as Ben Affleck and RDJ playing Hispanic men in Argo and The Soloist. Or how Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss Everdeen, who in the book is described as a girl with DARK HAIR AND OLIVE-TONE SKIN. People need to open their eyes to the real issue at hand here--white privilege.

  • Mimi | March 5, 2013 5:06 PM

    Well said Afrohispanic!

    I'm AfroCaribbean but not Afrolatina and you are 100% correct that the "blacker than thou" attitude needs to stop. Unfortunately too many of us don't know our own history not seek to know. As for the prosthetic, should actors of color be exempt from wearing them? Robert De Niro wore a prosthetic nose for "Raging Bull" and he received kudos for his portrayal in the biopic. A couple of years ago it was sisters getting flack for accepting to do "The Help"; now it's Zoe getting merciless criticism. We need to be supportive of actors who are out there trying to do meaningful work. If we do this, the quality of the offerings will only improve as producers realize that there is earnings potential for serious films about the lives of people of color.

  • AFROHISPANIC | March 3, 2013 6:38 AM

    I'm sorry you obviously have no idea what the term Afrolatina means! You are obviously splitting hairs to promote a certain agenda! If your problem is that the film was done without the blessings of Ms. Simone's family, thats one thing. When your focus and crtiticism switches to Zoe and her "LACK OF BLACKNESS" OR "INAUTHENTIC BLACKNESS", this kind of crtitcism displays complete ignorance, a limited world view, and a lack of understanding of the Black experience in the Western Hemesphere! The term Afrolatina embraces ones African Heritage while clearly distinguishing the unique elements and characteristics that make up the Afrolatino experience! Afrolatinos are as much a part of the African Diaspora as African Americans, this "blacker than thou attitude" is disturbing.. In the 1999 film "Having Our Say" both actress Ruby Dee and Diahann Carol did not resemble the women they were portraying, both actress had some form of make up and or prostetics applied, nothing was said.... Nothing should be said, because its called acting! Only someone with an agenda, that says only "African Americans should play black American historical figures", based on some self destructive self hating attitude, would see a problem with an Afrolatina actress playing an African American woman in a film!

  • Alisha | March 2, 2013 1:55 AM

    Agreed.

  • Said in Los Angeles | March 1, 2013 1:10 AMReply

    If Nina Simone meant so much to Black people, especially the ones lambasting Zoe, they could have made the move themselves. Nina's daughter has been in Friday (or whatever state she lives in) for sometime, nobody approached her that could do the project righteously? Black folk, especially the ones in Hollywood that have the money to make these projects and possibly showcase great talent constantly let other people dig up and shine our buried treasure, and then complain after the fact...

  • Fall Sapphire | February 28, 2013 8:28 PMReply

    sooooo, the problem is Zoe is pretty? The girl is from East Orange, considered the blackest city in NJ. what's the problem? her looks, her skin color? according to the one-drop theory which Black folk have accepted and made it their own, Black reality is one of one-drop--through the ages.

  • Bohwe | February 28, 2013 4:51 PMReply

    Since you Mrs.Saldan-Marquez said , "don't hate", ok so since you are so bold in your statement, take your post and send it to Simone , Nina's daughter website, facebook, send it to the Nina Simone official twitter. Tell Simone , "don't hate", your mom's memory means jack, now shut your black behind up, and worry about the black folks killing each other. It's easy to defend the movie, because you are not family .

  • Erm | February 28, 2013 5:14 PM

    If her memory meant jack, they wouldn't be making a movie about her. They could easily make a movie about some white person in her life and just use Nina's music as the backdrop.

  • Angel Rodriguez | February 28, 2013 4:48 PMReply

    Honestly, I never heard of Nina Simone until right now. I can't comment on her life or details, but, I do agree with a prior post that stated that the family should have been included in the process.

  • CAM Jr | February 28, 2013 4:47 PMReply

    To those of you who are up in arms about Zoe Saldana being cast in this film, I have but ONE piece of sobering advice for you: when you cast YOUR film about Nina Simone, cast whom YOU want! Until then, your opinion (albeit SPIRITED & PASSION-FILLED) is of NO CONSEQUENCE to the check writer(s) of THIS Nina Simone project. He/She who holds the PURSE strings makes the decisions. REMEMBER that!

  • Renata | February 28, 2013 5:58 PM

    We actually don't have to cast a film ....We as the viewing Audience hold the purse strings and determine if this film succeeds or not....We cast our views FINANCIALLY.
    Side note I love Zoe as an actress she does amazing work BUT Nina sang songs of how her dark skin and it's beauty. Helping those like myself find beauty in my hue when TV shows and Films said otherwise. Nina Simone was more than her hue , her gifts she gave the world were tremendous. SHE WAS A BEAUTIFUL MULTI FACETED ONYX in a sea of polished OPAL, which should not be thrown to the side like a side note.

  • Mrs. Saldana-Manriquez-CHICAGO | February 28, 2013 4:36 PMReply

    She is AFRO LATINA! AT least she is doing it out of love not out of spite as some actress's have done. Like Jennifer Lopez imitating to be a Mexican American Singer Selena, my first reaction was just as the negative comments below, she's not Mexican or is a desendant of Mexican blood, what does she know! I didn't appreciate that because as a Mexican American woman I felt there is so much potential to find a Mexican Actress in Latin America that could have played Selena... But after seeing the movie and seeing that Lopez did appreciate the doors that Selena opened for her, I couldn't judge her! She played it fair! I applaud Saldana - stay true and always keep your chin up! If someone who felt they could have done better, then maybe the African American actresses's did not step up the plate as much and as bad as Saldana wanted it!!!! Now, maybe instead of this we could focus on your African American youth that went buckwild in Chicago Ford City Mall. Do you think Nina Simone, Mrs. Rosa Parks, MLK jr. is proud of that~... I think NOT! Focus on that, instead of who won the role of Nina Simone! Don't hate!

  • Monique a Williams | March 2, 2013 7:23 AM

    I was just thinking about how much the Mexican community was up in arms over JLo's casting, but then the film came out and everyone had to agree she was amazing. Definitely her finest performance to date. The family loved the portrayal, but they were also instrumental in the creative process, so that was the difference.

  • Bryan Bautista | February 28, 2013 4:47 PM

    "Now, maybe instead of this we could focus on your African American youth that went buckwild in Chicago Ford City Mall. Do you think Nina Simone, Mrs. Rosa Parks, MLK jr. is proud of that~... I think NOT! Focus on that, instead of who won the role of Nina Simone! Don't hate!" That was so racist and wrong. You should be ashamed of yourself. I am ashamed that someone in my community, the Mexican American community, says things like that.

  • Bohwe | February 28, 2013 4:22 PMReply

    GUESS WHO'S HURTING, AND MOST LIKELY SHEDS TEARS, THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT MATTER IN THIS SITUATION, NINA SIMONE'S DAUGHER, GRANDDAUGHTER AND BROTHER. HER FAMILY DIDN'T WANT THIS FILM BEING MADE BECAUSE IT'S BASED ON LIES, THEY WEREN'T INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT, EVEN THOUGH THEY OFFERED THEIR INPUT. THEY DIDN'T WANT ZOE SALDANA TO PLAY NINA SIMONE. LOOK AT IT FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL, IF SOMEONE WAS PLAYING YOUR MOTHER WITH A TACKY AFRO,PAINT TAN ON THEIR BODY, AND A FAKE NOSE. DON'T ANYBODY DARE, NOT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE SIMONE FAMILY. SO THEIR TEARS ARE IRRELEVANT BECAUSE THEY AREN'T CELEBRITIES. I FEEL FOR ZOE, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, IF SOMEONE TOOK MY MOTHER'S LEGACY DESTROYED IT, YOU BEST BELIEVE I WOULD FAR MORE THAN WRITE A BLOG ABOUT IT, AND ALLOW MY SITE MASTER TO RESPOND. A LAWSUIT WOULD BE IN THE WORKS. LOOK AT IT FROM SIMONE'S PERSPECTIVE, HER MOM SPENT HER WHOLE LIFE FIGHTING AGAINST BLACK RACISM, FIGHTING IN A WORLD THAT TOLD HER SHE WASN'T PRETTY BECAUSE SHE HAD BLACK DARK BLACK SKIN, NAPPY HAIR, WIDE NOSE AND BIG LIPS, AND WHEN SHE DIED, HOLLYWOOD TAKES HER STORY, AND MAKES A MOCKERY OF IT. BY EVERYONE'S RESPONSE, IT'S BLANTANTLY CLEAR THAT PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHO NINA SIMONE REALLY WAS. TRYING TO GLAMORIZE NINA SIMONE. SAD. THIS IS BEYOND THE ZOE CONTROVERSY, THIS IS INDIRECTLY TELLING OUR BLACK GIRLS WHO LOOK LIKE NINA SIMONE THAT THEY AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH, NOT PRETTY ENOUGH , EVEN IF THEY HAVE NATURAL TALENT, THEY ARE UNACCEPTABLE IN THIS WORLD, BECAUSE OF THEIR LOOKS. STOKELY CARMICHAEL SAID IT BEST, BLACK FATHERS TELL YOU'RE BLACK DAUGHTERS THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. FOR ANY BLACK FATHER OR MOTHER, WHO HAS CHILDREN IN THEIR LIVES WHO LOOK LIKE NINA SIMONE, TO DEFEND THIS TRAVESTY IS SICKENING. BUT THE MINUTE, CHRIS BROWN IS ATTACKED IN THE MEDIA, BLACK FOLKS RUN TO HIS DEFENSE, LIKE HE'S LIVING IN A MUSLIM COUNTRY. THIS IS SAD. NINA IS SPINNING IN HER GRAVE.

  • getthesenets | February 28, 2013 3:58 PMReply

    Do you think this film is primarly being made for international market?

    I don't think Nina was ever a major star in this country..among Black audiences or "mainstream" audiences.

    Last few Hollywood biopics that I've been aware of were about people who sold millions of records in the United States..and were either huge crossover stars or mega stars in their own rights in the genre of music that they performed in the U.S.

    Nina was neither. I think that's why the producers are banking on Zoe's name to sell the film.

  • F Browne | February 28, 2013 3:31 PMReply

    I am not angry at Zoe Saldana. I'm angry and disappointed with the producers and director who think an actress who look more like Nina Simone would not be attractive enough to bring - I guess - white people to the movie. I imagine, anyone who would want to see this movie black or white already appreciates the inner and outer beauty of this lady. So maybe it's the producer who is projecting her own discomfort with women who look like Nina Simone.

  • Bee | March 1, 2013 8:12 PM

    F Browne, you are exactly right. Sad.

  • Erm | February 28, 2013 8:56 PM

    Stefan, you check the box office receipts and get back to me.

  • Fall Sapphire | February 28, 2013 8:32 PM

    people got upset when Diana Ross played Billie Holliday. Part of her story was her LIGHT skin.
    get over yourselves. It's called acting

  • stefan verna | February 28, 2013 8:18 PM

    @ERM: You are telling that they were no dark skin actresses who's features ressemble Nina Simone that are bankable stars that could attract major financing. Where have you been for the last 20 years?

  • Lvflg | February 28, 2013 7:01 PM

    F. Browne - that's what it comes down to - the producer - the director - their discomfort! smh. this color thing is soooooooo insidious!

  • Erm | February 28, 2013 5:16 PM

    No one ever said anything about a Nina lookalike not being attractive enough. Zoe Saldana is an international movie star. It's called securing financing, get a clue.

  • Ashunda | February 28, 2013 3:27 PMReply

    It seems like she's very hurt by the criticism and is trying to keep a level head, put on a strong front to deter people from the fact that she's seriously bothered by what people are saying. Although I don't agree with the casting, I'm not surprised by it as Hollywood is a money making machine, and it's all about numbers. Does that excuse this attempt at casting? No, but it sheds more light on how the system works. Names=box office. In this case, I'm not sure, though I'm convinced that people will either flock to the theaters or wait for it on Netflix.

  • Dr. GEE | February 28, 2013 3:22 PMReply

    First we are outraged that not enough blacks are hired. Then we criticize the ones that are hired. Which by the way, why are we mad at Ms. Saldana if she was offered a job and she decided to do her best at it. No one takes a role and says "Let me see how much I can screw this part up". Obviously the maker of the film thought enough of her to ask her. I also don't understand why we're judging a part we have not yet seen her portray. I think at this point we've forgotten that art requires some imagination and if your imagination does not stretch that far, then don't consume what is being served. I wonder if Nina was alive if we'd think enough of her to play herself or if we'd want to do as when she was alive and try to "correct" a few things about her too. Choose love man.

  • Justin W | February 28, 2013 10:27 AMReply

    Classy response by Zoe

  • blunt talker | February 27, 2013 10:53 PMReply

    I have three strikes against Zoe playing Nina. Strike 1=In Nina's last interview she stated she wanted Whoopi Goldberg to play her. Nina also stated , I never changed my hair, my skin color, and she was proud of remaining the way she always looked. Now who's disrespecting Nina's legacy. Hollywood and Zoe. If someone was making a movie about one of your famous relatives without consulting your family, you would be up in arms and very angry too. This is telling the Simone family , we will make a movie about Nina whether the story is true or not and we don't care what you think. Total disrepect to Nina's family and what the singer has stated in one of her last interviews before her death. Strike 2= Until Zoe explains what she meant about black actresses getting off their butts to find movie roles,because she wasn't having trouble getting roles in hollywood. That doesn't sound like she understands the black women actresses working in hollywood to me. I won't give her pass on that statement ever! Strike 3=If Zoe and hollywood really cared or studied the black community before making this movie, they would know skin darkening and fake features is big discomfort to this racial group. Black people in their 50's, 60's, and older can tell you how degrading this is for them to see on screen. No caring or sensitivity at all.

  • Fall Sapphire | February 28, 2013 8:35 PM

    being young and making insensitive comments goes with the territory. Cornel West still miffed with Miller for his cartoon of him at Princeton in 1994!
    People are buying into the hype of no consequence. The world knows there is no post racial world with Pres BHO election and are acting accordingly. surely we are better than this.

  • SFBOUND | February 28, 2013 4:35 PM

    I don't understand....she's not black enough? Why? Because she's mixed? Let's be real, Whoopi Goldberg is a great comedian, not an actress. So casting her in a comedy of Nina's life would be appropriate, but i'm assuming this is not a comedy and Whoopi is a tad bit too old now. Yes i'm sure this is not what Nina's family wants portrayed, but Hollywood ALWAYS has their own agenda, it's just a matter of accepting it or not. We have no say.

  • Winn | February 28, 2013 3:32 PM

    Your comments sum up my sentiments exactly. This is deeper than her personal affinity for Nina Simone, and deeper than her acting skills. And while I was a fan of hers before, those myopic comments about black actresses in Hollywood threw me for a loop, and illustrated how isolated she is in her bubble. I don't know if she's being deliberately obtuse, or just doesn't care, but regardless, her response doesn't even address the substance of the criticism of her casting, so it makes no difference to me.

  • Monique a Williams | February 27, 2013 8:17 PMReply

    I appreciate her response. Heartfelt and classy. I'm gonna give her performance a chance. I.m sure it won't be the worst movie I've ever seen.

  • Monique a Williams | March 2, 2013 7:17 AM

    100% better!

  • turner | February 27, 2013 8:57 PM

    It's gotta be better than any film by TP!

  • Black is Black | February 27, 2013 7:53 PMReply

    Give the woman a shot, see how she does, THEN bash her if she doesn't do justice to the role.

    And let's not gang up on the Latinas/Dominicans that deny their Blackness... there's plenty of Black folks in America that hate/deny their Blackness, their AFRICAN-NESS, cuz last time I checked most of these sistas are still buying Indian hair from the Koreans who make millions off your insecurity about your natural hair..

  • Gene | February 27, 2013 7:20 PMReply

    Instead of being informative, progressive, and interesting at all, this site is fast becoming nothing but pettiness, gossip and Bull Shit.
    There seems to be more of a "Facebook" or Twitter mentality here than any serious discussion about minority and black films in particular.
    Your readers seem to have no clue what the reality of Hollywood is. God bless any minority actor that gets any substantial role here. And any Black or minority film that actually gets made and released. What a bunch of amateurs.

  • And | February 27, 2013 11:35 PM

    This site gets about 100 comments each day, why are you responding to these two if they bother you so much? If you choose to bypass the comments praising the site/information, who's responsible for your disdain?

  • CC | February 27, 2013 9:00 PM

    ...and why are the both of you still here?

    Before you answer, in all fairness to Shadow and Act, this blog is a perfect reflection of any community, neighborhood or life in general. It's an open door and one reaps what they sow.

    To that point, as many have pointed out, S&A presents over 10 posts a day. Although "positive" and informative, many are left hanging in the wind with little or no comments. So if you and Turner decide to by-pass them, only to complain about the heated exchanges in the more controversial posts... well... who bears the responsibility for your disdain?

    To reiterate, if one goes into a city or neighborhood looking for the red light... or general chaos, they will reap what they sow. Therefore, if you desire less of a "Facebook" or Twitter mentality in your internet experience, stay away from the red lights or start your own "like thinking" think tanks. Then it's fair to say you'll be able to frame the discussions and moderate them to fit your needs. If anyone happens to drop by who does not fit your description of a fine upstanding and knowledgeable black citizen, I'd suggest that you do as you're implying S&A should do... jump right in, quick and in a hurry, and tell them to "GET THE HELL OFF MY PLANE!"

  • Turner | February 27, 2013 7:50 PM

    Ditto!

  • Matthew | February 27, 2013 7:17 PMReply

    I think that there are so many other more important issues around the world that need attention - the casting of an actress? Really just be glad that her story will be told - and further more give it a blasted chance - just like every thing in life - how could you make a decision on something that you have no information on. Isn't that some form of prejudice?

  • willie dynamite | February 27, 2013 7:10 PMReply

    Waay too much emotion has been spent on this casting decision. It's a movie people not a documentary. Commenters have already listed a multitude of casting choices that folks did not have a problem with because the actor did the performance justice. The film industry is an industry devised to make money. She was probably approached about the role following the success of Avatar -the highest grossing film in history. The Producers want the film to obtain the best distribution situation possible so casting a marquee name helps with that goal. Lastly, let's not forget a very important fact. The woman can act, so give her a chance. Everybody calm down and save your comments until you have at least SEEN the film.

  • Me | February 27, 2013 7:27 PM

    Spot on.

  • Nikki | February 27, 2013 5:48 PMReply

    Zoe has described herself as a Black woman in the past. The problem I have with this is that she's a mediocre actress.

  • twilight123 | March 1, 2013 8:37 PM

    Thank you @Nikki! THIS is what I have been saying. It's not a question of "black enough". Zoe is a black woman. It's the fact that she isn't a talented enough actress to bring the weight of Nina's life on screen. This should be why we are outraged!

  • Fall Sapphire | February 28, 2013 8:37 PM

    Now, that's a more valid criticism. But then, Halle aint good. love her to death and she has an Oscar! Yea!!!

  • Big Styles | February 27, 2013 5:13 PMReply

    *diasporic sigh* from a 2005 interview: "Whenever she goes to the Dominican Republic, the press asks her if she American or Dominican. She says she is a mujer negra, a black woman. When they tell her no, she is trigueñita, light brown, she answers, “I am a black woman.” - Zoe Saldana.

    I understand you're pissed about this, but no one has anything to say still about Denzel Washington playing Malcolm X. Wrong skin color, much too attractive actor - but did he pull it off? Also, no one seems to be struck by the irony of Nina Simone "fans" denigrating someone based on their appearance. Lastly, the subtext of all these rants is: "In my mind Nina Simone was ugly and dark skinned, Zoe is too light and attractive to play an ugly person" Really nigga? Get that hate out your heart and actually look at some clips on Nina Simone, she was beautiful, thin as a rail in her youth almost model-esque. What kind of a fool is you that gives Mariah Carey a pass and stops a card carrying black woman like Zoe at the door? I wish Tyler Perry would put out another movie so you bourgeois negroes would have something else to be mad about.

  • SFBOUND | February 28, 2013 4:41 PM

    LOL WORD!

  • And Yet | February 28, 2013 3:48 PM

    Yet Daniel Day Lewis wore prosthetics as Lincoln, Charlize Theron as Aileen in Monster, Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, Leonardo DiCaprio as J Edgar Hoover, Joseph Gordon Levitt as a younger Bruce Willis, and Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.

  • It's important to note that | February 28, 2013 3:44 PM

    Yet Daniel Day Lewis wore prosthetics as Lincoln, Charlize Theron as Aileen in Monster, Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, Leonardo DiCaprio as J Edgar Hoover, Joseph Gordon Levitt as a younger Bruce Willis, and Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.

  • srb199 | February 28, 2013 3:32 PM

    It's important to note that Denzel Washington did not alter his appearance to better fit what Malcolm X looked like. It was about the person, the story, where the focus should be, and he was trusted enough to pull it off. Zoe Saldana altered her physical appearance in one of the most controversial ways possible, black face, not mention other alterations, which forced the conversation to be about her, and not the awesomeness that is Nina Simone. I think she could've pulled it off without altering her physical appearance, but now, it could potentially be a distraction. I think it's also important that Nina Simone's daughter is not happy with the material the movie is based on, and has expressed concern over the dismissal of her by those involved in this project. Could this have expressed differently, yes. But considering how stories about black people are handled, if dealt with at all, and considering history, I can't judge how people express their disappointment or hurt about how Hollywood decides to represent black people on film. We all deal with the rejection of blackness differently, and now that we have the freedom to expression ourselves, it should be allowed to expressed, and available for others to react to.

  • Amen | February 27, 2013 8:14 PM

    ^^^ yes. This right here.

  • Alex | February 27, 2013 4:59 PMReply

    I think my biggest hang up is she is now saying something different about how she identifies herself than she had done previously; but clearly she seriously believes she can pull it off, it would be suicide to take it on otherwise, surely? Attacking her on personal level, not fair, attacking her choice to agree to 'black up' ...that's a little disparaging, considering she must have done enough research into the life of Nina Simone to realise how contradictory it would be to anything the icon stood for?... Also many people are angry because there were other stars who could have been considered and maybe they were, we - but it's frustrating that we're and I mean black women in film, are still here. Some are favoured more than others, and the ones that have features like Ms Simone are still at the bottom of the pile. I wonder if asian men are complaining about Jim Sturgess' depiction in Cloud Atlas...surely that was borderline racism on a more murkier scale

  • YOU LIE | February 27, 2013 5:12 PM

    You're full of it, she has always said she's black: http://m.imdb.com/name/nm0757855/quotes

  • John Brown | February 27, 2013 4:37 PMReply

    I like the sister. But we go from black face to blacken face, and is suppose to be progress? Negro please.

  • JOHN BROWN DOES NOT KNOW WHAT BLACKFACE IS | February 27, 2013 4:39 PM

    Come on

  • jeni | February 27, 2013 4:27 PMReply

    So sad that she still doesn't get it. Hollywood myopia. It's not about her love of Nina, it's about who would have done justice to her legacy. Acting-wise and appearance-wise, it's definitely not you, boo. Also, based on the comments from Ms. Simone's family, the source material does her a disservice as well.

  • Ladybug | February 27, 2013 6:53 PM

    Really THIS IS WHY . . . what makes you think Adepero would do a mediocre job. She was phenomenal in Pariah and was chosen by Steve McQueen to play a key role in 12 Years a Slave. And Mr. McQueen doesn't play games . . . "pop corn movies" he does not make. I've seen her work in at least 3 shorts . . . her performance was excellent in all of them. Zoe has done how many films . . . and how much critical acclaim has she received . . . people are upset all around regarding this casting . . . and everyone involved is at fault . . . if Zoe was a true fan of Nina then deep down she had to know her casting was wrong . . . accepting this role she had to know she was about to dive headlong into controversy . . . and yet she still chose to do it . . . people should ask themselves why . . . she had to know there were better choices herself. She has no choice but to take the high road . . . what else is she suppose to do?

  • THIS IS WHY | February 27, 2013 4:37 PM

    Lawd, I wish they had just cast Adepero Oduye. Then she could have done a mediocre job,l and the movie could flop or barely get released & y'all wouldn't be going on and on pretending to care so much about Simone's legacy. Y'all are convinced that other people would do a better job...just because they LOOK more like the subject? It's not a photoshoot, it's a movie. Ain't saying Zoe's the one, but all the cockamamie reasons why not are dumb.

  • Chaveevah Ferguson | February 27, 2013 3:31 PMReply

    okay, this is the first time I've ever heard Zoe Saldana acknowledge her African/Black roots...and that's fine with me. before, I'd found it difficult to see how someone who doesn't at least self-recognize as Black was going to be able to even attempt an honest portrayal of someone as unapologetically Black as Empress Nina. The side-by-side stills of Ms. Saldana in costume are lifeless and lackluster, compared to Nina Simone, who looks vibrant and regal, ie, comfortable in her own skin; I hope that Zoe will be able to bring something real to what I'm sure is a very challenging role, and a difficult persona to try and recreate for the screen.

  • urbanauteur | February 27, 2013 2:49 PMReply

    Maybe that director should've hire those CGI make-up artists from Avatar?

  • Deedee | February 27, 2013 2:43 PMReply

    She seemed shaken by the mean comments, but not stirred! SAY IT LOUD, Z-SALDY'S BLACK AND LATINA AND SHE'S PROUD!!!!!!!!!!

  • Africameleon | February 27, 2013 2:37 PMReply

    Her statement alone, regardless of casting.... very classy. She took the high road, and I believe that she has undergone a great amount of stress and self searching. I'm always on the side of healing moments and teaching moments instead of criticism that doesn't take us further as African diasporic peoples.

    Whether OTHER Latin@s identify as black or not is besides the point. She DOES identify as black AND Latina and there's nothing wrong with that. I wish people wouldn't make that part of the controversy such a big issue.

    The jury is still out on whether Ms. Saldana is/was the right actor for this role. That has been my grip about the casting, more that the issues of complexianism. Viola Davis serves up a plate of a$$ wh!ppin' to all! As far as I'm concerned she is the standard right now. And they could have made her look younger, and progressed her age as needed for the role. But again, that is not what the filmmaker was looking for. Saldana's casting speaks to who they want to attract to the film. She's a "pop corn" movie actress. She's steppin' it up with this role, true. But I don't know if they are trying for OSCAR territory. It doesn't seem like it since this is NOT a biography b/c so much of her actual biography has been omitted and fabricated. We will see.

  • lauren | February 27, 2013 2:12 PMReply

    Classy lady...eloquent response to haters and pointless chatter from non doers.

  • ALM | February 27, 2013 2:04 PMReply

    Zoe gave a great response, although the inaccuracies that have been included in the script do not serve to "honor" Ms. Simone's legacy. Making up instances in the name of "art" only serves to dishonor this icon.

  • star | February 27, 2013 1:55 PMReply

    Maybe Adepero Oduye, Viola Davis, Tichina Arnold, or even India Arie could play Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Nina Mae McKinney. After all it's about the love not beauty right? I think if Nina were here...who would she actually cast as herself given her beliefs, experiences, and legacy!!!! You need an actress but you need the RIGHT actress. If Zoe has to blacken her face, put on an AFRICAN nose, and unidentify with being black in real life interviews......hmmmm. I think it's about picking the BEST actress for the role to carrie out that persona. Would Nina blacken her skin? Were these other actresses auditioned or met with. Here - the casting choice is not about craft as much as it's about making a statement towards race, color, beauty, and the perception of black women - the antithesis of Nina's memory and legacy PERIOD!!!!! I'm done.

  • THIS IS WHY | February 27, 2013 4:23 PM

    And to BEE, Cicely Tyson played Coretta Scott King and that damned Lil Mama is playing Left Eye.

  • THIS IS WHY YOUR ARGUMENT IS WEAK AND TRANSPARENT | February 27, 2013 4:06 PM

    Daniel Day Lewis wore prosthetics as Lincoln, Charlize Theron as Aileen in Monster, Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, Leonardo DiCaprio as J Edgar Hoover, Joseph Gordon Levitt as a younger Bruce Willis, and Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. There are actors out there who look more like those subjects but, wahwahwah a name with box office power got the role instead.

  • Bee | February 27, 2013 3:36 PM

    "Maybe Adepero Oduye, Viola Davis, Tichina Arnold, or even India Arie could play Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Nina Mae McKinney. After all it's about the love not beauty right?" Exactly! This would NOT happen. And this is what people are missing in their asinine attempts to defend this casting of Nina Simone.

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