A multitude of Nina Simone fans and urban movie fans are outraged and mortified that not only has light-skinned Zoe Saldana was chosen to play the legendary singer-songwriter, but that Saldana doesn’t want to be identified as black.
Over the years, Saldana has quickly and frequently stated that she is Latino and that she identifies with Spanish culture. Of course, like many others who culturally appopriate black culture for their benefit, Saldana shrewdly and slickly used a black-based movie, Drumline, to catapult herself into fame and fortune. But she has resolutely maintained her non-blackness throughout her career.
Interestingly enough, some noted that when Saldana was going through many bad relationships with white men (before she finally got married) she considered becoming a lesbian. Black men were never on Saldana romance radar as they were never considered a dating option. To be sure: Saldana should be allowed to (and has) dated whomever she pleases and has an affinity for. Critics of Saldana portraying the legendary singer suggested that the filmmakers should have picked someone who has an affinity for black culture and actually likes being black.
Fast forward to today, and many Simone devotees are irate that white filmmakers and writers and casting directors picked the light-skinned, non-black Zaldana, only to put on dark makeup and afix a nappy Afro to her crown, when a better option may have been to pick a brown or dark-skinned actress from — Viola Davis to Lupita N’yongo to Nia Long — and not have to go through all those changes. Both Davis (Emmy) and N’yongo (Academy Awards) are also award-winning actresses, to boot.
Black Twitter-sphere made their opinions known in not-so-kind ways, once again. Take a look:
The acting ain’t terrible but Zoe looks like Don Cheadle if he was dressed as Shirley Chisholm dressed as Nina Simone for Halloween
— MonsterKing (@CerromeRussell) March 2, 2016
they made nina simone look like eddie murphy in dreamgirls. pic.twitter.com/y64bfBhLuC
— Brandon Caldwell (@_brandoc) March 2, 2016
People defending Zoe apparently never actually learned anything about Nina Simone. Her work was rooted in her loving her color & features.
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) March 2, 2016