After two long years of developmental woes, the high priestess of soul, Nina Simone, will have her life and career documented in the upcoming film Nina, directed by Cynthia Mort.
According to the official synopsis, “Simone pays the price for her fame and fortune 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 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.”
The film will focus on the 15-time Grammy nominee and Grammy Hall of Fame Recipient and her culturally impactful songs and passionate politics. Simone will be portrayed by actress Zoe Saldana to the displeasure of many fans. There was fan outrage when The Guardians of the Galaxy actress was cast nearly two years ago. Saldana has been under extreme scrutiny because skin-tone politics came into play. Simone has a richer complexion and profound Black features that Saldana lacks. The actress had to be “darkened” to appear more like Simone.
Twitter users did not forget this controversy.
someone make a movie about nina simone's ghost haunting zoe salamander after she watches her don a prosthetic nose to play her
— black frances ha (@imbobswaget) March 1, 2016
zoe saldana looks foolish at nina simone. foolish.
— Tracy Clayton (@brokeymcpoverty) March 1, 2016
Why didnt they get like Viola Davis or someone whose a vet in acting to be Nina Simone
— Jessica Jones (@Crislex) March 1, 2016
Which does Zoe look like she is playing?
Minnie Ripperton or Nina Simone…
This film should not be released. pic.twitter.com/oQ40BEuPJQ
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) March 1, 2016
Wow, actually coming out. https://t.co/Z4iFNot8HD
— Matt Patches (@misterpatches) March 1, 2016
They would rather put Zoe Saldana in brown face than to hire an actress with darker skin. Nina Simone deserves more. pic.twitter.com/HSuCnPjIH3
— Marty. (@Atwitisborn) March 1, 2016
"Is that bih two tones?" – Nina Simone pic.twitter.com/xiOup6zhvL
— jujoffer (@jujoffer) March 1, 2016
I rebuke this Nina Simone movie.
— Sam (@Ms_Mayfield) March 1, 2016
So much of nina simone's identity was inextricable from her black womanhood, why the FUCK would u cast a Latina https://t.co/EGdTKOtuyv
— zee (@saracenic) March 1, 2016
@taylor_TM to keep it simple, out of all the actresses to play Nina Simone… they pick Zoe Saldana? That's not to erase Zoe's identity as
— Mike The Conqueror (@MikeTalksTrash) March 1, 2016
Many of the users are appalled that the filmmakers did not hire a dark-skinned woman to portray Simone. Viola Davis, Danai Gurira and other women could have been much better casting decisions, but Hollywood has a colorism problem when dealing with Blackness.
Nina will be released in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on April 22, 2016.