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Controversy Over Zoe Saldana Casting in Nina Simone Biopic

Zoe Saldana has been confirmed as the actress to take on the role of Nina Simone in her biopic, and the decision has created much controversy over the casting decision.

They say any publicity is good publicity; well this might be the first time that that philosophy doesn’t hold true.

Nobody can stop talking about the self titled Nina Simone biopic, but at this rate the same people talking aren’t likely to show any support for the film.

Nina Simone was considered the High Priestess of Soul and her music tackled many of the issues that other people still face today. A part of what made her music so powerful was the obstacles she was forced to over come as a dark skinned African American woman with what some considered a nose that was just too wide.

Once again, this is the same woman that will be portrayed by Zoe Saldana – see where the controversy steps in?

Zoe Saldana’a Latina roots means she has a much lighter skin complexion and her features don’t even come close to matching those of the jazz legend and Civil Rights activists.

To make matter worse, producers plan on using dark make up and a prosthetic nose to make Zoe look more like Mrs. Simone, and needless to say the ending results are comical and can’t even be taken seriously.

In an industry where actresses with lighter complexions seem to always have the upper hand over women of darker skin complexions, it seems incredibly offensive that the role of a dark skinned woman over coming adversity couldn’t be taken on by a dark skinned actress who is likely to have experienced the same type of hurt that the “Sinner Man” songstress went through herself.

One fan of Simone posted on the legend’s official website just how irate she was about the Saldana casting.

“So today I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone… AND I THINK THEY ARE RIDICULOUS,” posted the fan who goes by the name of India.Arie. “Yes there should be a movie made, and YES they should have chosen someone who LOOKS like Nina Simone, ESPECIALLY since her RACE played such a PIVOTAL role in WHO, WHAT, and WHY, she was… That ASIDE for a second, this just looks WEIRD, it looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose… REALLY?!!!”

A YouTube user even posted a video in which she scolds the producers for the casting decision that she found to be downright “super-disrespectful.”

“It’s like super-disrespectful to cast an ethnically ambiguous person to portray a woman who battled the industry’s distaste for her dark skin, and her natural hair and thick features,” said Erica Renee.

According to the New York Times, Simone’s own daughter has made her disappointment publicly known.

Simone Kelly doesn’t find Saldana to be right for the part at all, and even revealed that her mother always wanted Whoopi Goldberg to play her if a biopic was ever made.

It seems like a hell of a lot of people agree as an online petition has been created to stop producers from moving forward with the “Avatar” actress taking on the lead role in the biopic.

Despite all the controversy around her most recent casting, Saldana still has a large following that loves her. After all nobody is disappointed with her as an actress, the problem really seems to lie with whoever made the decision to cast her for the part.

The 34-year-old “Columbiana” actress will appear along side Anna Kendrick and Common to present the nominations for the 2013 Spirit Award.

The announcement was made on Friday by Sean McManus and Josh Welsh, the Film Independent co-presidents.

All three of the celebrities have been very active members of the Film Independent family and will announce the nominees at a press conference on November 27.

“Anna, Zoe and Common have become an integral part of the Film Independent family and we are honored to have them join us for this big moment to announce and celebrate the best independent artists of the year,” said McManus.

Saldana was a presenter for several Spirit Awards in the past and was even seen in “The Words” and will also make an appearance in the upcoming Star Trek film, “Star Trek into Darkness.”


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