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Should Zoe Saldana Play Nina Simone in the Nina Simone biopic?

Should Zoe Saldana Play Nina Simone in the Nina Simone biopic?

 

For years the black community has had a civil war between the dark skinned and the light skinned people.
This war has recently stepped to the forefront over the casting of actress Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in the Nina Simone biopic. On the day that it was announced message boards flooded that Saldana wasn’t black enough to play the role.

Some members of different message boards said that “she’s not black enough. Her skin is too light for her to get this part down right”. Her skin color doesn’t make her less of a actress nor does it take away from her ability to learn to be Nina Simone. The person originally pegged to play Nina Simone was Mary J Blige and frankly speaking Mary is a horrible actress and to give her the lead based on her singing abilities would’ve been incredibly dumb.

Aside from the glaring difference in skin color it’s not as if there’s not a chance Zoe can ace this part. She’s a well trained actress with a great résumé thus far.

Nina’s daughter took to Facebook and addressed the whole film (which is an unofficial biography) and had this to say.

“Greetings Nina Simone Lovers, Simone here.

I have read many of the comments am happy you all took the time to share your thoughts and feelings.

Here’s mine:

When the announcement initially hit the press with MJ Blige cast as Nina (about 6 yrs ago) I heard it along with everyone else. The story was written as a love story between my mother and her former nurse, Clifton Henderson and primarily takes place during the last 8 years of her life.

Please note, this project is unauthorized. The Nina Simone Estate was never asked permission nor invited to participate.

I have seen many names regarding who you think should play the role of Nina. Remember Angela Bassett as Tina Turner? SHE NAILED IT! Angela Bassett is an ACTRESS! And, we all know she lip synced along with Tina and did an amazing job. Personally, I prefer an actress to a singer. Just because a person is great at one does not mean they will be great at the other. If written, funded and CAST PROPERLY a movie about my mother will make an lasting imprint.

My vision of a movie about my mother includes SO many pivotal moments that are monumentally important towards relaying the journey of a woman whose journey began as a child prodigy born in North Carolina in the 1930′s…too many to list here but, trust when I say the tale will inspire through the sheer sharing of HOW Eunice Waymon became Nina Simone, The High Priestess Of Soul renowned worldwide. How many of you know my mother’s FIRST love was classical music? Do you know the hours she practiced preparing to audition for the Curtis Institute of Music only to be rejected because of the color of her skin? **After my mother made her transition I accepted a diploma from that very same institute with a speech she began writing but was unable to finish prior to her death.** As a child, my mother was told her nose was too big and she was too dark yet she graduated valedictorian of her high school class – The Allen School for Girls – AND, skipped two grades. Nina was one of the most outspoken, prolifically gifted artists using the stage to speak out against racism during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960′s. Her friends included Betty Shabazz, Lorraine Hansberry (my godmother), Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Miriam Makeba, Stokely Carmichael, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens worldwide. Had she become a classical pianist, which was her dream….shattered, I doubt she would have found her true destiny. Nina Simone was a voice for her people and she spoke out HONESTLY, sang to us FROM HER SOUL, shared her joy, pain, anger and intelligence poetically in a style all her own. My mother stood up for justice, by any means necessary hahahaha YES, she was a revolutionary til the day she died. From Tragedy to Transcendence – MY VISION. The whole arc of her life which is inspirational, educational, entertaining and downright shocking at times is what needs to be told THE RIGHT WAY.

By the way:

Clifton Henderson was gay. He was not attracted to women. So, the truth is…Nina Simone and Clifton Henderson NEVER had a relationship other than a business one.

Please correct me, but isn’t a biopic the story of one’s life?

I have faith things will work out the right way and my mother’s real story will be told. For all she endured while here and all of the lives she has touched, she DESERVES to be remembered for who she truly was; not some made up love story from a former nurse/manager (now deceased) who sold his life rights because of his relationship to Nina Simone.

Ciao Y’All….Simone”

 

With all of this being said do you think picking Zoe was the right move? And with the caretakers of Nina Simone’s estate saying they didn’t approve of it should they continue with production?

One Response

  1. Graham Hyatt says:

    As a white man – originally from England – who loves to see pretty women, I never cease to be amazed, and unimpressed, by American casting for films and television.
    Watch a play or film from the UK, and you will find pretty women and ugly men, playing the roles of pretty women and ugly men. They try to find a double, and cast the nearest to a double they can find, as long as they can act the part. They look for reality.
    Watch the equivalent American TV play or film, and most of the time will cast pretty young women or handsome young men in roles, regardless of the parts they are playing, and will generally cast for 10 years or more below the age to be portrayed. Well, they look good. Right? Wrong!
    I for one shall not bother to go to a film in which every actor portraying the role of a ‘goodie’ is pretty, pretty, and only the roles of ‘baddies’ attract the less than perfect looking actors.

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