Zoe Saldana "Nina" Controversy: India.Arie Weighs In

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Zoe Saldana has come under significant fire for her role as Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic, Nina.

Now "Video" singer India.Arie is adding fuel to that fire. In a recent interview with Billboard, Arie said she was sad to see Zoe Saldana in this role.

"I think the best way to say it is that they casted her against type and went too far to make her fit," she said. "It's not my place to say how Zoe Saldana perceives herself, and I can't say how anybody else perceives her either."

India.Arie also bashed Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone on the late singer's official website, saying, "it looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose."

"[The Nina portrayal] is a caricature," Arie added. "You had to put a whole other face on someone’s face."

The distribution company for the upcoming film said via a statement to People magazine, "The most important thing is that creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness."

Zoe Saldana has been defending herself in her role as Nina Simone since first being cast in 2013.

"I don't care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me. So that is my truth and that set me free," she said at the time.

India.Arie goes on to say she doesn't think Zoe Saldana did anything wrong in taking this role.

"I don't know her and I don't think she did anything wrong," adding, "I think they cast Zoe Saldana because they wanted a big name, but that makes me ask, 'Is the name Nina Simone not big enough to get people to come to the movie?'"

Do you agree with India.Arie on the reason Zoe Saldana was cast in the role of Nina Simone? Did producers feel Nina's name and talent alone weren't enough to draw the masses to movie theaters?

How do you suppose Nina, starring Zoe Saldana in the lead role will fare in theaters?

Nina hits theaters on April 22.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.