*After two years of lingering in limbo, the controversial Nina Simone film starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo will be released in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on April 22, 2016. There is no trailer yet, but the first official post has been released and it has reignited the Twitterverse outrage over bi-racial Saldana being cast to play legendary African-American singer.
“That Zoe Saldana pic as Nina Simone looks like the blackface of a bad Halloween or frat party,” wrote one Twitter user.
Many are calling for a boycott of the film, and there had been a petition going around to have Zoe removed from the project. Casting the “fair-skinned Saldana, then darkening her with makeup and giving her a prosthetic nose and an Afro wig,” is not only comical and offensive, it serves as another example of the hate Hollywood has for the authentic black woman. Not to mention, it further sends the message to dark-skin women that you are not good enough.
Simone herself often said in interviews that Hollywood penalizes dark-skinned female artists. Her daughter, Simone Kelly, told The New York Times that the singer often said she’d like Whoopi Goldberg to portray her if a movie was ever made, per NPR.
Nina was famous from the 1950s through the ’70s for her music and her civil rights activism. Although she died in 2003, her voice remains a resonating force in pop culture today.
“Nina” is written and directed by Cynthia Mort, and the official synopsis read:
She was one of the century’s most extraordinary talents, a 15-time Grammy nominee and Grammy Hall of Fame Recipient; her mesmerizing songs and passionate politics combined to make her the unforgettable Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana). But fame and fortune came with a price, and her later years were riddled with depression, alcohol abuse and isolation. Rediscovering the meaning of her life and work took courage, strength and one true friend: Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), the man who started out as her assistant and eventually became her loyal manager. With Clifton’s encouragement, the “high priestess of soul” began a courageous journey back to her music … and, eventually, herself.
Tell us your thoughts about “Nina,” do you intend to watch the film?