Zoe Saldana came under fire in recent days for playing the role of Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina. The late musician and activist’s family is put off by Zoe Saldana wearing both a prosthetic nose and blackface while portraying the late singer.
Zoe Saldana, however, isn’t bothered by their outrage. She even quoted Nina Simone in saying so.
"I'll tell you what freedom is to me- No Fear… I mean really, no fear." #NinaSimone
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) March 2, 2016
An official Twitter account for the late Nina Simone fired back at Zoe Saldana’s tweet.
Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing. It shall pass, but for now…
— Nina Simone (@NinaSimoneMusic) March 3, 2016
Zoe Saldana first drew criticism from Nina Simone’s family back in 2012, when she was cast in the role. They felt strongly that the role should be played by a dark-skinned actress. Saldana is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent.
Saldana herself once questioned if she should portray Nina Simone.
“I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” she said during a June 2015 interview with InStyle.
In 2013, Nina Simone’s daughter, Simone Kelly, said this about her late mother–and about the choice of Zoe Saldana playing the role.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) March 3, 2016
“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark,” Kelly told the New York Times. “Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”
Despite their upset, Zoe Saldana will appear on the big screen in the role of Nina Simone. Nina premieres on April 22.
Will you be checking it out?