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Zoe Saldana Fights ‘Nina’ Backlash, Affirms Her Blackness: ‘I’m Raising Black Men’



In a bold new interview, “Star Trek” actress Zoe Saldana asserted her Blackness. She opened up about raising her identical twin boys as “Black men.” After previously facing backlash for playing legendary singer Nina Simone in the biopic “Nina,” the Queens, New York native also hit back at naysayers, and she tackled racist casting in Tinseltown.

Saldana reflected on her race and the judgment she faced ahead of the film’s dismal April release. Atlanta Black Star reported the star was panned for being chosen to play the dark-skinned, politically driven singer. Use of makeup and a prosthetic nose to make her appear more like Simone was also criticized.

“There’s no one way to be Black,” Saldana – who is Black Dominican – told Allure. “I’m Black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am Black. I’m raising Black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”

The star of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy 2 once again responded to criticism over her portrayal of Simone, saying she “never saw her as unattractive. Nina looks like half my family!”

Saldana initially passed on the role for a year before accepting the role. She pointed to racist attitudes in Hollywood as the reason the movie would never have been made had she not signed on.

“Female stories aren’t relevant enough, especially a Black female story,” she said. “I made a choice. Do I continue passing on the script and hope that the ‘right’ Black person will do it, or do I say, ‘You know what? Whatever consequences this may bring about, my casting is nothing in comparison to the fact that this story must be told.’ ”

But she commended filmmakers who step away from casting traditional white actresses in certain roles.

“Reading all the postings for castings for the 20 years I’ve been an actress, there’s so often that last line about ‘the director wants to go traditional with this part.’ But every now and then, I encounter filmmakers like James Cameron, J. J. Abrams, Ben Affleck, James Gunn, and they go, ‘Why not you? You’re traditional. You’re everything.’ “

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