Zoe Saldana: ‘If Elizabeth Taylor can be Cleopatra, I can be Nina Simone’

Zoe Saldana covers the June issue of Allure Magazine, and I have no idea if this is the “naked” issue or whatever, but Zoe completely dropped trou for the photoshoot. She also dramatically changed up her hair, and I really like the long, bouncy curls on her. She rarely wears her hair curly on red carpets, and she should start because it makes her look younger and less… drawn. As for the Allure interview… well, I don’t care for Zoe’s personality that much. She reminds me of Rooney Mara with a dash of Goop – there’s a smugness there, an unearned pretentiousness. You can see the Allure slideshow here, and here are some highlights from the interview:

I don’t think she knows what “androgynous” means: “I might end up with a woman raising my children. That’s how androgynous I am.”

On the idea of raising a child with another woman as her partner? “Yes, I was raised that open.”

Has she had a relationship with another woman? She deliberates, then says, “Promise me one thing: You’re going to ask this question [in the article]—if you choose to, just put three dots as my response. That’s it.”

Dating actors: “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”

She doesn’t “test” relationships: “If I have something good in front of me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a person or a pair of shoes, I’m not going to test something else. It’s insecure and it’s immature.”

Saldana is emphatic about the difficulties she faced when she filmed Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl The “leadership,” she says, “pick[ed] who to be nice to and who to dispose of because they’re not important. Those are signs of a very poor character.” Then she adds: “I can be a nobody according to you at that time. But I’ve always been a somebody.”

The criticism about Zoe playing Nina Simone: “Let me tell you, if Elizabeth Taylor can be Cleopatra, I can be Nina—I’m sorry,” says Saldana, her tone not in the least apologetic. “It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it. I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am.”

She’s more concerned about misogyny than racism: The actress is actually far less concerned about her skin shade than about being what she calls “a woman in a man’s world.” She says, “It’s hard enough to be a woman on this earth. So to be an American or black or Latina, it’s arbitrary compared to our battles as women.”

Saldana has found a balance of ambition and self-acceptance. “Now, in the last few years of my life, I’m actually claiming what I want and not being afraid that I’m jinxing it, that it might not happen, that I might be disappointed if it doesn’t happen,” she says. “It’s OK to say, ‘This is what I want’—and go after it. And if it doesn’t happen, it’s OK. Be a reasonable person with yourself.”

[From Allure]

Is she comparing herself to Elizabeth Taylor?! No, I don’t think she is, I think she’s just saying if Elizabeth Taylor can play an Egyptian queen, Zoe can play Nina Simone…? As for her “got the t-shirt” comment – yeah, I doubt there’s much love lost between her and Bradley Cooper. I never really understood their relationship in the first place, and Zoe ended up a lot like Renee Zellweger in that Zoe spent most of the relationship with Bradley’s mother anyway.

Definition of androgynous: “having the characteristics or nature of both male and female.”

Photos courtesy of Allure.

 

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

187 Responses to “Zoe Saldana: ‘If Elizabeth Taylor can be Cleopatra, I can be Nina Simone’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. paola says:

    After reading Angelina Jolie’s piece i find Zoe Saldana even more irritating and shallow.

    • Cherry says:

      To be fair, that really applies to almost everything that’s ever been written on this site. You can’t really compare a girl’s casual interview in a glamour magazine (accompanied by topless photos, no less) to an essay about having a double mastectomy in the New York Times.

      • joan of snark says:

        ahahahahaha! so funny!
        My problem with “If the Elizabeth Taylor can…” comment is that the black community was outraged that the film would pick a white woman to play an African woman. How does she make her point by aligning herself with that debacle? The issue is that the Nina Simone film makers chose an actress that has features that are presumed (stupidly) to be more “appealing/relatable” to non-black, or just white, audiences. Nina Simone’s looks, her African features made her life harder in a white-dominated America. To choose an actress with features that make it (somewhat)easier for her is just weird. There are THOUSANDS of talented black actresses with features just like Nina’s. If they needed a big name, why not Viola Davis? She would have killed it!!!

    • cmc says:

      Agreed, but it’s not particularly fair to Zoe.

      Actually, I think the Angelina essay will color my whole day. It’s pretty moving.

    • WOW Interesting. It is a Movie Money making Hollywood. Always part fiction. Too many people believe all movies are facts of life. They let this influence what they belive.

  2. Isa says:

    I kinda wish she had said “if Lindsay Lohan can be Elizabeth Taylor…” instead. Would be funnier if nothing else lol.

    • virginia5 says:

      I was just about to post the same thing!!!

    • Helen says:

      Truer too. Zaldana may be a fashion girl and a pretty face (?) but she’s not the thespian she imagines herself.

      • Rachel says:

        The comment has nothing to do with her acting ability. She’s addressing the criticism that she’s not “black” enough to be Nina Simone. While Elizabeth Taylor was very, very pale and played an African pharaoh.

      • LAK says:

        Cleopatra may have been an African Phoaroah, BUT she was a Macedonian Greek. Her dynasty didn’t mix with the locals, so though Hollywood never considers historical accuracies, in the case of ET’s casting, they accidentally got it right

      • NYer says:

        Thank you, LAK. Hollywood, please read some history. Cleopatra was Macedonian Greek, and ruled Egypt. She wasn’t born African. Greek, people. GREEK!

      • Nclark6 says:

        Before people definitively say that Cleopatra had NO Black blood in her, I think they would best be served to read some history extensively themselves. There is doubt about Cleopatra’s maternal side, and paternal grandmother, meaning there is a possibility that Cleopatra had black blood within her. Scientists think they found her sister Arsinoe(the one that it is rumored Cleopatra murdered) and there is evidence that she may have black blood from her mother’s side. The family bloodlines were not as pure as people tend to believe as things got murky in regard to ancestry for the Ptolemy’s during Cleopatra’s parents and grandparents time period. The parentage of Cleopatra’s mother is uncertain raising the possibility that she could have black blood. So while yes the father was definitely Macedonian via the Ptolemy dynasty, people should quit talking about her having Black blood as if the debate is settled, because it isn’t. It’s uncertain.
        http://womenshistory.about.com/od/cleopatra/a/was_cleopatra_black.htm http://blog.oup.com/2010/12/cleopatra-2/
        http://www.examiner.com/article/scientists-say-cleopatra-may-have-been-african-because-her-sister-arsinoe-was

      • Nina W says:

        Maybe but I doubt it. It was very common for cousins and even siblings to marry in the time of Pharaoh and that doesn’t leave much room for mixing with the locals.

      • Nclark6 says:

        @ Nina W. Your statement it was very common for cousins and even siblings to marry in the time of Pharaoh is true for political purposes but there were other royal wives and concubines that had children as well. Nevertheless the Greek philosopher Strabo who actually did live during the time of Cleopatra called her older sister Berenice IV the only legitimate heir leaving open the possibility that Cleopatra had another mother along with her other siblings. Two there is possibility that Cleopatra’s parents from the official record have bloodlines outside the Ptolemy dynasty on their mother sides which is a possibility (there is also a possibility that both official parents have at leasta bit of Black blood). So yes absolutely she is Greek(obviously this is where the official legitimacy to rule comes from i.e. the Ptolemy lineage) however there may be room for other bloodlines and possibly Black blood as well. I’ve even read scholars that say, her mother was from a high priestess Egyptian family in Memphis. Even if she wasn’t, there is reason to believe that Cleopatra’s official mother may have been an illegitimate daughter of Ptolemy IX).Bottom line is we really don’t know, which leaves open the possibility, especially if scholars really did discover Arsinoe’s remains and there is a possibility that she had Black blood within her(obviously the question of whether that is Arsinoe is up for debate). I’m baffled by the people that believe there is no room for uncertainty, because there is. If Cleopatra had 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 or some other combination of Black blood in her, so what? Does that diminish her accomplishments? I think her ancestry and story is facsinating regardless and the reality is we likely won’t ever fully know, so people should stop pretending they have the complete picture.

    • V4Real says:

      “Let me tell you, if Elizabeth Taylor can be Cleopatra, I can be Nina—I’m sorry”

      Well Zoe the difference between you and Liz is that Liz actually had talent. No go drink a cup of STFU.

      • Erin says:

        @ Nclark6

        Please those are just biased blogs trying to present any hope of Clethopra being some Egyptian blood none are historian or archaeology websites.

        And the point must be lost on you, that Cleopatra was from Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great’s death during the Hellenistic period.

        No where is she ever portrayed as some Egyptian, African black , her inheriage /dynasty never pretended or acknowledged as Egyptian, they would only speak Greek they married within to protect their bloodline , Cleopatra married to her brother.

        They ruled as Greek’s Ptolemaic over Egypt never as Egyptian.. So how did she ever get portrayed in our culture anything but Greek…. O ha because people like you feel they did to blur history when it’s convenient for you..

      • Chloe says:

        @erin And people like you speak authoratively like you were there. Please tell me more about this time machine since you possess since you can clearly speak definitely on Cleopatra’s race. It’s more than just blogs, there are scholars who also raise questions about Blackness in her ancestry. There are issues such as Cleopatra being the first woman inherent family to speak the Egyptian language when previous generations spurned it. At this point you know no more than I do but please pretend to be an expert. The world needs more of those…I didn’t blur history. I’m just open to more than one narrative of it because it didn’t always happen the way the mainstream narrative likes to portray it(for the longest Thomas Jefferson had no black kids with Sally Hemmings according to official history but that didn’t turn out to be the case ultimately despite the consternation of some historians). Sometimes truth lies beyond the “official version” written in history books.. Finally when you can prove that you were there I’ll give your more opinion more credence than mine. Until then I stand by the fact that the evidence is mixed and it’s been a pleasure….

      • Nclark6 says:

        @ Erin if you read my first comment you will see that I said exactly thaat Cleopatra was descended from the Ptolemy dynasty(reading is fundamental). However there is controversy over how much inbreeding was done. Yes the family married each other but there is evidence that they had children with concubines and other wives (i.e. the whole issue with Arsonoe being mixed race) so it’s not completely out the realm of possibility that Cleopatra could have black blood in her. I didn’t say a lot but she may have had some. Not sure why you are getting upset at the possibility that she MAY have a little bit of blackness in her (it’s not like I said she was full-blooded black Egyptian because I know better). There is evidence to argue either way, and your dogmatic diatribe does you a disservice because you have no more access to facts than I do. There’s an old African proverb that says “Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”, which is why I take an openminded view to history because I acknowledge its limitations. I don’t see the big deal to at least being open to the possibility that she may have had Black blood but clearly you do, so we will have to agree to disagree.

  3. Spooks says:

    She comes across as quite arrogant here, doesn’t she?

  4. JenD says:

    That was a really weird interview.

  5. Anna says:

    I actually really like her comments here (aside from the vocab deficiency). She is firm, she demands respect – doesnt wait till it’s doled out to her by the higher powers; she calls it like she sees it, and calls out the double standards in the industry and society. I like that. She comes across very strong and unapologetic, I dont think we see enough of that from high-profile women of any race or occupation or age.

    • NerdMomma says:

      I like her comments too. I don’t think she comes off as arrogant or shallow. I like her and don’t get the Zoe hate.

      Also, she came into show business as a ballerina. Making it in the world of ballet takes an insane amount of work, so I don’t think any feelings of accomplishment on her part are unearned.

    • MCraw says:

      Agreed, completely.

      When I see Zoe, she’s having fun experimenting with fashion, says harmless, affirmative things and proclaims her african ancestry. I don’t think any of you understand how crazy that type of racial thinking is in the Dominican community. She is a pioneer to many black latinas, challenging them to accept their blackness, which many deny to a bizarre degree.

      As for her Liz Taylor comments: WORD! For some reason casting someone as darker than you imagined creates more of an uproar than casting lighter. Remember the disgusting display of racism when people realized Rue from Hunger Games was black? My feelings are still hurt about the sudden racists who popped up around me. I give Zoe points for standing her ground and as a Latina challenging black women throughout the diaspora to stop light skin vs dark skin. Plus I love her fashion, win or lose.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Me too. I liked what she had to say and I liked the way she said it.

    • c'est la vie says:

      I also liked what she had to say, she came off as strong in her opinions and values, likes and dislikes.

      Didn’t see a hint of smugness there at all. She’s just outspoken.

      Plus, she looked great.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Yep. She can bug sometimes but I like what she had to say here. She knows who is she is and is not afraid to stand up for herself. I’m also curious about her comments re: Pirates of the Caribbean. Wish I could get the scoop on what went down specifically.

      Oh and she looks really great in this shoot. The hair and make-up is fab.

    • joan of snark says:

      Yeah, I agree. I’m really interested in how she prioritizes sexism over racism. I wonder how most ethnic minority women feel about this issue today.

  6. Maria says:

    And here is where we part ways: 1. being a woman IS harder because this is a patriarchal system 2. she’s right that we need to stand together as women BUT if you think the scrutinies that white woman face are equivalent to that of WoC she does a disservice to PoC everywhere.

    Women can certainly draw parallels in their experiences with objectification, cat calling, harassment, body shaming, and rape culture—this is factual.

    However, minimizing the stereotyping and whitewashing of what constitutes beauty, implying that black/latinos/whites share the same burden due to gender is one of the biggest problems with this modern wave of feminism.

    Intersectionality plays a huge part; I’m Latina, come winter very white passing, and if I had a dollar for everytime my own mother made me come inside during the summer because I was “too dark” or had a grandparent tell me to not “sound like that” because they would know I was Mexican, I’d be a little bit better off.

    When you live in a world where society tries to diminish and look down on you for what you are, outside of already being a woman, the complications and internalized confliction only amplifies the obvious issues we as women face.

    She’s right about Elizabeth Taylor, if Cleopatra could be whitewashed, I can see her point. However, Simone was a woman who was proud of her African heritage and NEVER tried to be anything more than what she was born; if she genuinely respected Nina as a woman, she would have passed on this.

    /that’s all I got

    • minime says:

      You said it all! It is true that is harder to be a women in a patriarchal system, but to rule out all the extras that PoC have to go throughout their life is just silly.

      About her comparison with Elisabeth Taylor, she forgot that she is not nearly as talented as Taylor was. I think that her skin tone is less of a problem than the fact that there were many other actresses that could play better the role without having to color their face.

    • CJ says:

      I agree to a certain point. But! When you say white women, I presume you mean white American women. When my mother moved to the US, she had a heavy Eastern European accent. It was the Cold War era, btw. I can’t even count the times she was called a prostitute just because of her accent, because, apparently, in the US that is all Eastern European women did. And she was white.And had a college diploma.

      • Leen says:

        So very true CJ. This is why I dislike the term people of color. Many women who are white were oppressed, such as the Irish, the Polish, the Germans, etc.

      • Maria says:

        Yes, I did.

        I’m sorry if I didn’t clarify; I’m American and the issues we have (I realize this but should’ve put that in my initial response) are completely different.

        I don’t want to negate the issues that Europeans face, especially given the atrocities in Eastern Europe and growing sex trades in in EU (hell America too for that matter); I just sort of inwardly flinch when people here (US) imply this is for ALL women because when you deny or dismiss someone else’s burden, well, it feels like a slippery slope….

        You’re minimizing the impact of the effect that their personal pain as caused them. Hell, there’s plenty of dark history regarding how we treated Irish/Polish/Italian immigrants (who are white, at least, by our consensus bureau). I won’t go too much into that simply because my knowledge is basic and I’d rather admit that firsthand that talk out of my you know what…

      • CJ says:

        Yes, I understand what you meant. And I’m not talking about human trafficking. I am talking about the way she was treated in the US, not in Europe.
        What I’m saying is that by acknowledging the pains of one group, you are not diminishing the pains of another.

    • AfroLondongirl says:

      I agree with everything you said. I have never liked this woman. She comes across as smug and has a very high opinion of herself.

    • stellalovejoydiver says:

      Racism and sexism go hand in hand. I think a lot of times Zoe was not disrespected for being a woman, but a woman of colour.

    • MaiGirl says:

      I agree completely. And, considering that Simone had to battle hard to have her dark-skinned, wide-nosed, full-lipped, big booty blackness accepted as beautiful, I do hold Saldana personally accountable for accepting a role in which skin color is not the only issue. She isn’t a very good actress anyway, but her entire physical type does not fit, and it smacks of the “any black will do” type of casting that is Hollywood’s stock and trade. She can claim her black Latina-ness all she wants–I’m fine with that. But she does not fit ANYTHING else that Nina stood for, and that is a tragedy.

    • Nina W says:

      I think you assume that whiteness in America guarantees you something better and something more than what you’ve got and I can assure you that isn’t always so. You can’t start drawing lines and saying this woman’s suffering is greater than that woman’s because she is a woman of color. As many have pointed out already plenty of white women have shitty lots in life and it’s not right to minimize or dismiss them because of their skin color. Isn’t that exactly what racism is all about? Racism is real but so are a lot of other nasty things that have nothing to do with complexion.

  7. Cleopatra says:

    Cleopatra was ethnically Greek.

    • LAK says:

      i was about to say the same thing.

      If one is going to be pedantic about race, then Elizabeth Taylor is closer to the historic Cleopatra’s skin tone since she was Macedonian Greek.

      If Zoe wants to discuss egregious casting, how about John Wayne as the Mongol emperor Ghenghis Khan, or Mickey Rooney as a chinese man in BREAKFAST AT TIFANNY’s and Rita Hayworth having to white face herself, literally so people wouldn’t know she was mexican. Ditto Merle Oberon who was Anglo Indian. There are so many examples she could have picked.

    • L says:

      I was about the come and say the same thing.

      Mind, Cleopatra certainly didn’t have Elizabeth Taylor’s figure, but that’s historical license.

    • Gretchen says:

      Thank you! This fallacy that Cleopatra was Egyptian always bugs me (too much time studying Antiquities). At that time, Hollywood was awful (and still can be) about black and brown facing white actors, however in this case, not so much.

    • epiphany says:

      +1. Revisionist history has convinced many (including Zoe) that Cleopatra was black; in fact, the ruling family in Egypt for centuries was white, descended from Alexander the Great. They only married other family members, so Cleo was indeed Caucasian.

      • pretty says:

        North Africans and Arabian people are all caucasians as well but they are not white white.
        are you saying cleopatra was white like elizabeth taylor?
        I thought Cleopatra was caucasian and looking like arab, north african.

      • epiphany says:

        @pretty – Arabs had not migrated to that region during the reign of Ptolemies, the name given to Cleopatra’s family tree. They only married other family members, i.e., brother to sister, cousin to cousin – because they wanted to keep their line “pure” – a revolting notion to our sensibilities, but that’s the case. Cleopatra was Greek, not African, not Arab, not Nubian.

      • Leen says:

        @Epiphany, there is strong consensus among the history, anthropology and genetic community that Arabs in the Levant/Egypt/Morocco/Algeria/Tunisia are not pure genetically from the Arabs. Because when the Arabs took over, the indigenous community simply became Arabized through language. Hence, usually when referring to an Arab, it is usually referred to be a linguist Arab (where your native language is Arabic, your culture and history is Arabic) but not usually, an ethnic Arab (Arabs from the gulf are ethnically Arab, so are Bedouins, but the majority of Arabs in Levant/North Africa/Egypt are NOT pure ethnically arab). This is why in the Arab League, what constitutes an Arab ‘is a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic-speaking country, and who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic-speaking peoples’. There is no reference to Arab as an ethnicity because then many Arabs would be excluded from the definition.

        Which is why you see a LOT of white Arabs in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and nearer to the coast (google the Moroccan queen, seriously, she is very white and red-haired).

        For instance, I am Arab, but my ancestors were a mix of Byzantines/Greeks/Crusaders/Arabs. Which explains why there are many white blondes on the side of my family.

        It is also why Middle Easterners are lumped together with Caucasians. In fact, Arabs in the Levant are closer appearance white to Mediterraneans (including Greeks) than their Arab counterparts in the Gulf. Try googling Lebanese women and then greek women, and I swear to you there look very similar to eachother.

      • Organic says:

        NO! The revisionism regarding ancient Egypt has been to erase anything of color. FYI Greeks were not caucasian so get outta here with your blue eyed queen. Cleo would at most be olive skinned (if you want to pretend her mixed racial heritage is a ‘black panther lie’). When do white people quit writing us out of our history. Shameless.

    • Gelda says:

      Here we go again. Theres evidence to suggest that Cleopatra was mixed race, that her mother was Nubian. Her sister is also described as having African features. Theres also proof that 19th and 20th century historians went out of there way to suppress anything that could dispel the myth that black people were ugly savages.

    • Gelda says:

      Her paternal side was Macedonian however with plenty of Persian mixed in. No way Cleopatra was a lily white brunette with violet eyes. Lol. That was hollywoods very f*cked up interpratation of what the “most beautiful woman in the world” must have looked like.

      And thats before we even delve into Cleopatras maternal heritage which was probably Nubian.

      SMDH at anyone defending Liz Taylors casting which was nothing more than the white washing of our notions of beauty. Aluta Continua!

      • Connie says:

        Your so silly no one was lilly white, it’s not like they had sunscreen or little umbrellas protect them from the sun.

        And just because it doesn’t make you happy facts or facts , Clethopra was enthnicly Greek of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great’s death during the Hellenistic period. The Ptolemies, throughout their dynasty, spoke Greek and refused to speak Egyptian

        Yes many Greeks are white blond / blued eyed . And in her family tree and in that time they married whinin their family’s to keep their bloodlines intact , no mixing bloodlines with locas who they thought were inferior.

        Cleopatra even married her BROTHER Ptolemy XIV whom she married as per Egyptian custom.

      • Sigh says:

        No, many Greeks are NOT blond and blue eyed, stop bullshitting, I’ve lived there.
        Most are swarthy with dark hair and eyes.

      • Ava says:

        @ Stop bullshitting !!! , who the hell are you , as if your some authority on Greek heriatge

        Most Greeks are light skinned and light eyed, by brother- laws family off the boat Greek and their all have blue eyes…

        The most famous Greeks in Hollywood are light skinned light eyes, Jennifer Aniston, John Stamos, Zach Galifianakis, Arianna Huffington , Tommy Lee, Rita Wilson.

        Funny only white people stero types and prejudices are accepted as fact and can be thrown around without the P.S brigade taking offence.

      • W says:

        Ava, most Greeks are not blond/blue eyed.
        You seem really offended by this fact.
        Are you really saying the majority of Greeks are blond/blue eyed!?
        only a small minority is and you naming some famous names won’t change that. Are half the names you typed even fully greek?

      • Leen says:

        Ava, you seem to think there is only one type of ‘white’. While Greeks are certainly Caucasians, they are by no means as white as Scandinavians, blue-eyed and blonde.
        Please let us remember that the majority of Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East (including Turkey and Iran), Armenia, Chechnya, Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, etc, are Caucasian (because of the fact the majority of their ancestors came from the Caucaus), hence, they are white.
        Greeks are white, so are the majority of Mediterranean Middle Easterners. Yet Mediterraneans/Middle Easterners are closer in complexion, appearance, hair/eye color, than say their Scandanavian/British counterparts.

        I have been to Greece several times, and in my country there is a small Greek community. You cannot tell them apart from the rest of the Arabs, until of course you hear them speak Greek.

        The majority fo the people you named are not all fully Greek. Even though this is so stereotypical, even my Big Fat Greek wedding film has more of your ‘typical’ Greeks than the ones you names.

  8. smee says:

    Liz played Cleopatra in the 1960s – when inappropriate casting wasn’t an issue. Her comment doesn’t make sense in her context anyway.

    I agree – she does not seem to understand the meaning of the word androgynous.

    She has a Diana Ross kinda crazy & beautiful vibe about her.

  9. Not that it matters, but... says:

    Cleopatra was a Macedonian Greek, a descendant of the general who took over the Egyptian part of Alexander the Great’s empire following his death.

    • Leen says:

      True, a lot of Mediterranean/Levant and some Egyptian arabs have Greek ethnicity/ancestory because the Greeks were in the Middle East for a long time (which is why you get White middle easterns, see the Moroccan Queen)… but meh, I get what she’s saying. Although it’s irrelevant, kind of would have been nice to see a Levant Arab protraying Cleopatra.

      • Gretchen says:

        But Cleopatra wasn’t a Levantine Arab, she was Greek! The Ptolemaic dynasty was pretty hardline against any mixing with locals, refused to speak the local language and tried to keep the family line as ‘pure’ Greek as possible.

      • Asiyah says:

        Also, Egyptians aren’t Levant Arabs. So for a Levant Arab to play an “Egyptian” queen is also historically inaccurate.

      • Leen says:

        Gretchen, I brought it up to emphasize that a long time ago in ancient times, many of the nowadays Arab countries were Greek, Greek-founded, or Greek-settled. My own country, Palestine, were founded by the Grecian Cretes, and named it Palaestia.

        Anyway, it seems some posters up ahead brought up the fact that Cleopetra wasn’t as pure Greek blooded as I thought she was, which is interesting.

        @Asiyah, I see your point, although the reason why I brought up Levant arab was because they are closer to Greek ethnicity than majority of Egyptians (as I understand they have a different ethnic make up than the Levants), as it would be closer to Cleopetra’s own ethnicity. Although to be fair, I had no idea that Cleopetra was possibly mixed race (from the posts here). Still better a Levant arab (or even better an Egyptian) to play an Egyptian queen than a lily white American (although I do love Elizabeth Taylor, still kind of annoys me how there are little-to-no Arab women in cinema and theatre).

    • Malificent says:

      I tend to agree in all likelihood that Cleopatra was ethnically Greek/Macedonian — the Ptolomaic dynasty was very…ahem…insular.

      However, earlier Egyptian dynasties that came from the local population would have most certainly have had pharoahs with more African genetic heritage. If you look at modern Egyptians, you can tell that they are a mix of what we consider African, European, and Asiatic features. Egypt was a crossroads culture thousands of years ago too — and from Egyptian artwork it sure likes like the pharoahs and the ordinary Egyptian people had the same mix.

    • Nina W says:

      It’s interesting to read squabbling over ancient history. My two cents, Cleo was a Macedonian Greek so she was in the white to olive range found throughout the Mediterranean. Sorry for wishful thinkers everywhere but the marriage practices, and might I add, strict social code pretty much ensures Cleo’s heritage. You cannot re-write history to make it more socially acceptable and politically correct. It is what it is, the Greeks ruled Eygpt at that time. Oh and there are plenty of light skinned, light eyed Greeks and I can’t believe anyone even contests that. Visit Athens.

  10. marie says:

    perfect example of why folks shouldn’t use words without knowing their meaning.

    • BW says:

      She doesn’t know what an ellipsis is, either, or how it’s used.

      • hoya_chick says:

        Lol! Yes Marie and BW I love the shade the post is throwing her. I wish these celebrities would read a book in between takes. Some of them are so dumb. If she didn’t try to sound smart she wouldn’t come off as so daft

        Ps love the conversations on this thread! So many informative prespectives.

    • Viv says:

      I agree, but at the same time… she is an actress and I just expect her to act, look pretty and not say horrible things about ugly babies or political conflicts. I think we sometimes expect too much of those people we like to look at.
      Do I love that Clooney is well informed on the Sudan situation? I sure do and I appreciate Angelina sharing on genetic testing. Do I laugh about how stupid Ryan Lochte is? Yeah. But he was at swim practice while other people read books.
      I saw Saldana in that TV documentary Demi Moore produced of Amanda De Cadenet interviewing women. Zoe was so incredibly confident and spoke openly about sex. She didn’t sound stupid but her confidence took her to Goop territory. And that is kind of sad. I remember thinking, “Whoa, people will really hate your balls one day, woman”.
      I think they should stop asking actors so many questions. We want to know, but we kind of don’t.

  11. Monie says:

    She annoys me so much; always has. I guess I’m supposed to have a brown chick-bond with her but nah, not happening. She seems to take herself way too seriously. Zoe, you memorize lines and play dress-up…not saving lives. Also, being topless and biting your thumb is doing SO MUCH for the anti-misogyny cause. Bobblehead.

  12. Samtha says:

    Maybe she meant she could take the (so-called) “man’s” role in the relationship/child rearing? Or that male/female archetypes wouldn’t be part of her children’s upbringing? Who knows. She honestly don’t come across as that intelligent in this article. She sounds like SHE thinks she is, but her actual words…not so much.

    She looks great in the pics, though.

  13. Leen says:

    Her arabic tattoo is messed up. The script is all wrong (compare and contrast with Rihanna’s arabic tattoo), it’s all wrong and looks weird. I can’t even read it and I speak Arabic.

  14. lady mary. says:

    that shot reminds me of the
    shoots done in ANTM

  15. victoria says:

    Cleopatra was Greek !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and was white!!!!!!!!!!!!! Greek = white!

    • Leen says:

      Well, uh, some Arabs are white, btw. Lots especially Levant/Mediterranean arabs are white as snow. (check out the Moroccan queen).
      Alot of Arabs have Greek ethnicity/ancestory, btw.

    • HK9 says:

      Yes, and my girl Liz was a white Englishwoman(not Macedonian at all), so she as a Black Latina(or whatever she classifies herself as these days) can do Nina Simone.Liz didn’t speak Greek/Macedonian and that didn’t need to disqualify her from the role as Zoe’s lack of talent (musical or otherwise-I’m a musician and have a degree in History so I get to be a snob about this today :-) ) doesn’t disqualify her from playing Nina.

      (I think I need to have my head examined for trying to make sense of the thoughts of this fool girl. Lawd.)

      • bridget says:

        That’s not why people have a problem with Zoe playing Nina Simon… Its because Zoe’s skin is much lighter that she’s had to wear dark makeup to look like Nina, who was a very proud black woman. To some, it feels like blackface

  16. Lotta says:

    What a stupid and ignorant comment! Cleopatra was of greek descendent and her line of ancestors came to Egypt through the conquest of Alexander The Great, who was a greek conqueror.

    • Jenny says:

      Not to pick on you in particular, as many posters have made the same comment, but I don’t understand what this has to do with what Saldana is saying. I clearly am not as up to snuff on the Ptolomeic Dynasty as many people here (I am much more familiar with early Egyptian history), but papyrus paintings of the time showed Cleopatra to be of a light brown reddish complexion, not white. Liz Taylor was a great actress, but she was not Greek and did not resemble what the evidence says Cleopatra looked like. How does what Saldana is saying not make sense? I’m not really trying to defend the girl, cause she sounds like a dummy, but this comment over and over is irking me.

      • Erin says:

        The disagreement is about the fact that Nina Simone ethnicity was very dark black, not mixed Hispanic black/white and that dark actresses have a diffcult time getting roles written for them and many are technically better actors and can actually sing, who should have been given a role like this. When black male historic figures are made into movies they don’t get the lightest black, mixed race actor to play them.

        What people find annoying is that she used the example of Elizabeth Talyor playing Clopatra , perpetuating the myth that Clopatra was black or Arabic, when the facts are enthnicly she was Greek, and the facts also bare out the her dystasty Ptolemies, were hard core into not mixing with Egyptian people they ruled, to the extent they only spoke Greek , even after centuries of ruling Egypt , ruling family only married wihin their family, not supporting he theory people say she may have had Egyptian blood, Cleopatra herself married her brother and which was Egyptian custom .

        Drawing , Bust of Cleopatra show ” white” figures with a dark completion , which would be normal since they had no protection from the outdoors , sun and every race , ethnicity 2000 years ago would be much darker then have been in the last couple of centuries.

      • Em says:

        What are “white figures”?

      • Leen says:

        @Erin, I just want to pick apart your comment about ‘Arabic’, and why I think casting Cleopatra was an eye-brow raise.
        Majority of Arabs in the Mediterranean are white (actually, most arabs are classified as Caucasians). In fact, although Elizabeth Taylor did a splendid job of portraying Cleopatra, still, no Arab or Greek woman for that matter was ever cast to play Cleopatra. This is problematic because you virtually see little-to-no Arab women in hollywood, theater, cinema, or TV despite the fact that Arabs compromise more than the population of the US. (The only time Arabs are cast is either to play terrorists/harem oppressed women).
        Also there has been an increasing trend since the last 20 years to lump arabs in the ‘non-white’ category (Along with their Turkish, Iranian, and even to some extent their Chechnyan, Bosnian, Armenian, etc) counterparts, despite the fact that they are Caucasian. You’d be suprised to see how many of these ‘dark-skinned’ people are actually white (because of exposure to the sun). Plus, most Arabs do have Caucasian features (which I guess this is what you were referring to when you said ‘white figure’), but are dark skinned due to the exposure to the sun… just like Cleopatra herself.

        My point is, casting an Arab/Mediterranean as Cleopatra would have been more accurate than an English white woman. Closer in appearance and complexion, as well as heritage wise.

  17. GeeMoney says:

    She comes across as an idiot in this interview… but I still like her.

  18. Annemarie says:

    She’s like the black latina version of Megan Fox: conventionally beautiful, but when she tries to sound smart, she looks like the opposite. Also, she says she will “honor and respect” the black community but then turn around and say that misogyny is more important than racism? You do a disservice to black people when you make statements like that AND when you insist on playing Nina Simone, while her family is against you playing her. Ugh.

  19. Karen says:

    Cleopatra was Macedonian not Egyptian. Lack of historical understanding aside, the only worry I have with her in this role is if she’ll have the skill and ability to fully flesh out such an important figure.

  20. SaftD says:

    Pull all the seats and sit down, Zoe. She better hope she nails this part or she’s not going to hear the end of it.

    • Elle says:

      Yeah, this is really what it comes down to, isn’t it? No matter how long people debate comparably questionable casting choices, it all pretty much rests on whether she turned in a good performance. Based on what I’ve seen and heard, I don’t have a lot of confidence that this will be a good movie and I think it’s just going to get worse for her.

      But I do like to be proven wrong, so we’ll see. Or rather other people will see and I’ll wait for the reaction. Because if it’s a trainwreck, I can’t. Just can’t.

  21. MsAubra says:

    She had all this time to make the Elizabeth Taylor comparison and she didn’t til now! DINGBAT!!! You know she was coached into it!

    She truly is a “try hard”, I done told y’all about this dumb dumb! I cracked a cheshire cat smile just now cuz she’s so unaware!!

    Forgive me God!

  22. MsAubra says:

    Because of everything this chick is…I am inspired to be everything else!

  23. Patrice says:

    Yes. Because it’s just SO HARD to be a female in the Western world in 2013. Nevermind a rich and famous one at that.

    I’d really love to take all of these middle/upper middle class & wealthy/famous women in American who dare to whine about all of the terrible “hardships” they’ve faced over the course of their lives due to gender alone and drop them off in the middle of places like rural China, The Congo, or Afghanistan for a few weeks-just to name a few-to give them little a taste of what it’s TRULY like to live in a place that genuinely has it out for women. Then let’s see what they have to say about how awful things are for them around here.

    I mean, do Americans-or those who’ve moved to and live here like Zoe-who do this actually &@&# believe what they’re saying? Do they think that say, not getting as much (sometimes paid) maternity leave as you’d like is the same thing?? (Again, I’m only referring to the middle, upper middle, wealthy & celebrity classes who complain about all of their “trials” due to gender here.) It’s totally incomprehensible and infuriating to me. Try some cultural awareness and a little sensitivity…

    • Gretchen says:

      Um, I don’t think homogenising China, Congo and Afghanistan as the worst places ever for women is particularly demonstrative of your cultural awareness and sensitivity….

    • MonicaQ says:

      While I don’t really care for her and agree with you to an extent–http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AppealToWorseProblems her frame of reference is lacking in the scope of things. I was in an abusive household while my mother was a heroine addict but I knew there were kids in Sudan dying of landmines. It didn’t make my problems any less real for me just because someone has it worse.

      • Erin says:

        I hell ah China when you’re only allowed one child, How would you like to be told by your governemnt that you’ re only allowed to give birth to one child and any other baby has to aborted

        Only in the last decade have they become less strict and still it’s for the rich who have the money to pay the fines.

        Check out a picture of the ruling communist party, there are a couple of thousand leaders and see how many are women.

    • Maria says:

      I’ll give this a go as an American woman; are our problems the same as let’s say women in China, Africa, or India?

      Hell no.

      However, does that make the burdens we carry as women any less relevant? This isn’t about who’s more oppressed, though, I’ll concede the hardships we face are on a much “smaller” scale.

      We have a media that breeds fear: we’re taught to check under our cars..never walk alone…don’t go out at night..look pretty…but don’t be too revealing…focus on your good traits without being vain…don’t be a prude but not overly sexual…

      The sort of messages women are sent in ANY first world country are so utterly conflicting that it’s no wonder young girls feel lost and confused!

      There is no comparison in what a woman in the Congo is going through to what an American/English woman is going: these are two extreme existences. I’m willing to bet that IF you sat a woman who was raped here with a woman who was raped there the feelings of shame/self loathing/and doubt would be almost identical.

      I think, we as women, need to be more empathetic NOT sympathetic.

      Pity does nothing but infuriate those who have overcome victimization (I know this from personal experience); also, those of us who are fortunate enough to live in privileged countries need to stop suggesting what SHOULD be done and actually LISTEN to the women around the world about what THEY thinks should be done.

    • Mia 4S says:

      So Western women should just shut up overall?

      No promotion for you because you might have children? Shut up, you could be in Iraq! Attacks on reproductive rights? Shut up at least it’s not the Congo! Just because we are further down the path is no excuse for complacency. It’s not a contest and without power of our own we can’t do a damn thing to help women elsewhere.

      • Jenny says:

        I sort of agree with all these comments. I think the real problem is not working towards continued advancement for the role of women and their equality in our cultures and societies, but instead coming off whiny and acting like your problems are just oh so horrible when they are not, a la Betheny Frankel. I also think Saldana didn’t do herself any favors by alienating minority communities:-/

  24. LittleDeadGirl says:

    I knew I shouldn’t have read her interview. I honestly really like her in movies, she’s got a lot of spark, but my god, she needs to not be allowed to give interviews without someone telling her what to say.

  25. Tanguerita says:

    There are actresses who can pull off pretty much everything – heck, if they said that Meryl Streep decided to play Nina Simone I’d just shrug and wait for a earth-shuttering, Oscar-worthy performance from her – no matter the race, skin colour and age. The problem is – Soldana isn’t that actress, if at all.

  26. HH says:

    I have a few thoughts about this woman. First, I’m pretty sure it’s her thinness, but I don’t find her to be that attractive. CB said it best that her face looks “drawn.” She just has a weird look to me. Second, Zoe has mentioned before (in Essence I believe) about the importance or lack thereof of skin color. To call being black arbitrary compared to being a woman is understating the issue. Now, absolutely if one views everything through a racial lens then life will be far more negative than it actually is, but to be on the opposite end is also an inaccurate view of life. I have issues with this especially because Zoe’s playing a character whose race was a central focus in her cause. That’s actually the real thing that irks me about Zoe getting this role than anything else. Third, Cleopatra was of Macedonian-Greek descent historically speaking. Furthermore, no one had tons of pictures of Cleopatra to compare Elizabeth Taylor to her. Not the case here. When you look at Zoe Saldana you would never think of Nina Simone.

  27. Miss M says:

    I totally forgot she was in the movie “Center stage”.

    • Elle says:

      I just watched Center Stage again a couple days ago out of curiosity and I actually think it was her best performance so far. Maybe because it was a little closer to her real personality and life? I have no idea.

      I try to keep that movie in mind when I read about her because it was released before people knew who she was and wanted to interview her or gossip about her. So basically it reminds me of a time that I liked her and didn’t know enough to start getting annoyed by her. I mean…I want to like her. I guess that’s the best I can say right now.

  28. Isabella says:

    So… Is Zöe gay? Or did I misread the interview?

  29. MsAubra says:

    And not to mention, the thing that makes this issue an issue in the first place is that this isn’t a REAL biography in the sense that the people closest to Nina Simone weren’t consulted on the film at all and verified that alot of what is proposed to be in the film isn’t accurate. That’s what makes this whole Oscar chasing effort of hers(it is what it is) look like a REAL epic FAIL!

  30. Nancy says:

    She’s a very forgettable actress so “shrug”.

  31. Janie S says:

    Well, Cleopatra was ethnically Macedonian/Greek, so the idea that Liz Taylor was too white to play her is … odd.

    Not to mention, we have very limited information on what Cleo looked like, as opposed to Nina Simone, who lived after the invention of photography.

    It’s a dumb comparison.

  32. Annie says:

    This whole “she’s not black enough to play Nina” thing angers me so much. She’s black! Women of color get enough shit from other people without other POC finding issues and chiming in too, obsessing with/comparing shades like most POC do. At least there will be a new movie starring a woman of color. We don’t see those often. And can white people please stop giving their opinion on why it’s terrible that she’s playing Nina? If I read another Gawker/Jezebel style essay or comment, written by a “progressive, concerned” white person I will IMPLODE. Just shut up.

    As a POC, I’m just happy when a high profile actress of color gets to star in a movie, and not just playing a sexed up/hurtful stereotype or a blue indigineous feisty creature, in a movie where POC played all the aliens, because James Cameron thinks “people of color = closest to savages.”

    I think they mostly wanted a big name for the movie. Zoe is that person, and she has earned this opportunity. She’s been around for a while, putting up with God knows what. Let her have this. If there isn’t another “better suited” actress playing the part, it’s because few WOC have been allowed to be stars. There’s not many options. Let Zoe have it.

    • xoxokaligrl says:

      Its because she says she is Hispanic most of the time, not because of the color of her skin.
      Your are right, it is good to see more people of color in movies but Zoe is an awful actress. I like Gabrielle Union she is SO beautiful, and talented. I wish she was in more movies.

  33. Rachel() says:

    Errg. She is both mind numbingly dull and super full of herself. I wish she’d go away!!!

  34. TheyPromisedMeBeer says:

    I’m going to throw Zoe a bone here:

    “Now, in the last few years of my life, I’m actually claiming what I want and not being afraid that I’m jinxing it, that it might not happen, that I might be disappointed if it doesn’t happen,” she says. “It’s OK to say, ‘This is what I want’—and go after it. And if it doesn’t happen, it’s OK. Be a reasonable person with yourself.”

    I actually like that answer.

  35. Patrice says:

    Clearly there are those who’ve chosen to respond to my above post without having taken the time to read the parts where I clarified not once, but TWICE specifically who my post was aimed at so I’ll try a third time: Upper middle class/wealthy and or famous women ONLY who pull the gender “victim” card every chance they get. Never once did I reference rape victims, the poor, drug addicts or victims of domestic violence, in fact, I specifically did not do so because I know and am sensitive to the difference. But I guess people will see/hear what they will.

    Maybe some of you have convinced yourselves that everyone is out to get you all the time and that’s fine if it’s your prerogative. I choose instead to be grateful to have grown up in the country I did rather than look for reasons to pick it apart in an effort to turn myself some sort of false martyr.

    The true, original feminism was all about celebrating womanhood, helping each other out and yes, also posessing an awareness about true injustice. However, life is all about perception and I simply refuse to participate in the somewhat newfangled idea that I am somehow a victim from birth even in the U.S. merely because I am a woman. It’s nuts! And that was the point of my original post. It was not to say that we all, woman as well as men, don’t have our own troubles in life, but rather that I think it’s time to stop acting like we carry the brutal weight of the world on our shoulders because being an American woman is just SO hard. Compared to the rest of the world, it isn’t.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I think the people that responded to your original comment understood EXACTLY what you were saying, they simply disagreed and brought up excellent counter-arguments.

      Simply because there are women who suffer greater atrocities in the rest of the world doesn’t mean we shouldn’t want more for ourselves. As American women, we sure as hell shouldn’t feel guilty about striving to be a better society.

    • Agitation says:

      *bows to Patrice* Some of these people have some for real selective reading. Personally, I’m not down for this modern day forever a victim brand of feminism, that so often ignores the criticisms coming from POC(and outright insults them–just take a look at these ‘femen’ creatures), which is why I prefer to label myself as an egalitarian.

  36. Starlight says:

    She can be anything she wants. But a black singer could do a better job.

  37. kim says:

    Love her comment about pirates of Caribbean. J depp is an horrible actor and bug is pretentious tude is not warranted. Different wig same role…
    Zoe is not my fave actress but I would give her a chance as nina…never know..

    • jinni says:

      I doubt she’s talking about Johnny since he too was fighting to keep his portrayal of Capt.Jack Sparrow from getting modified by the higher ups during the first movie. She’s most likely talking about the guy that used to be the head of Disney, but was booted a while back.

  38. Kat says:

    Not going to really get into the “Was Cleopatra white/black/brown” debate. I’ll just say that we don’t really know what she looked like and most likely never will. Coins minted at the time weren’t on gold but other metals which don’t hold up as well so it’s hard to tell. So to bicker over her skin color seems silly to me. Why is it even a thing?

    The issue is that Liz Taylor was cast – and that’s not because that’s probably what Cleopatra looked like but because of how racist Hollywood was. A black actress wouldn’t have had a chance in a movie that huge – ANY movie that huge (practically any movie) – as the titular lead. Which, okay, we know that and we hate that but we can’t change it because it’s in the past.

    But the problem is that Hollywood is still so white TODAY. Zoe is comparing herself to one of the biggest stars in the world in the SIXTIES in the role of a woman of an unknown appearance. We know exactly what Simone looked like, but more importantly we know what she means to WoC and how she struggled BECAUSE of her race. That’s why people are upset and I get that. I’m sure Zoe takes a lot of crap for not being “black enough” – how racist is THAT? – but taking this role was poor judgment on her part in my opinion.

  39. Agitation says:

    Maybe if Zoe was a good actress, I wouldn’t take issue, but as someone mentioned in a previous post about this subject, Nina’s story was all about the struggle particularly dark skinned women went through, and it’s a bit insulting that they were willing to ignore that so they can get the pretty light skinned lady to attract interest. And you can’t tell me that there aren’t dark skinned that can actually act that should be playing this part. Viola Davis anyone?

  40. blunt talker says:

    Her Nina Simone movie role seems to be not about what Nina was about in real life. Nina spent her life showing that she was proud of her appearance/features. She would not want an actress made-up to look her. This defeats the purpose of Nina’s struggles. The people in this movie decided to make-up a story about Nina being in love with her gay caregiver. Nina’ family has stated this in not true. Why would Zoe and others say this is how they see Nina and this is their truth about Nina. Zoe shows the IQ of an infant. If she read about Nina’s life and truly understood her struggles with her appearance in America, they would not have made the movie around some made-up gay love affair. This makes Zoe and others look disrespectful and unkind to Nina’s remaining family members. The black media will definitely be checking out this movie and its falsehoods.

  41. alidorival says:

    The comments here on celebitchy is better than any talk show I’ve ever seen. Sharon, Whoopi, Barbara and others should come here for lessons on how to keep things lively witty and informative. You guys trump the Wiki page on Cleopatra. As for Zoe….love the hair!

  42. Mew says:

    Cleopatra was Greek. She was “white”, not African. However, I do think there’s absolutely no reason why Zoe couldn’t play Simone. I would understand the hate talk if they cast Kirsten Stewart to the role but come on… this is just ridiculous, her not being “black enough”. Jeez….

    • Me says:

      Well they obviously didn’t think she was black enough since they had to put her in black face and prosthetics. So if she’s upset about the ‘not black enough’ comments, she should start with those in charge of the movie who thought that she wasn’t ‘black enough’ to use her actual skin tone and nose. Yes, she should definitely start there. And clearly she, herself, didn’t think she was ‘black enough’ since she was so willing to wear the damn black face. So she should address herself secondly.

  43. Laura says:

    Her answers were real and honest, maybe she didn’t understand all of the questions, but where was the smugness? Does every actress have to be humble and insecure for you guys to like them?

  44. MsAubra says:

    “Does every actress have to be humble and insecure for you guys to like them?”

    …’humble’ and ‘secure’, and yes :)

  45. Danny says:

    Then again the problem is that with all the talented dark skinned actress we have ( Viola Davis, Adepero Oduye to name a few) Hollywood decided to put her in a blackface which is really offensive to me. Moreover is disrespectful to Nina’s legacy of pride for her unconventional beauty… Everybody knows how many problems she got for her afrocentric look and how she always was proud of it!

  46. A says:

    I am so SICK of the myth that Cleopatra was Greek!
    There is NO real evidence of that! Some say her mother was Nubian/Ethiopian.
    So please stop going on about how she is Macedonian Greek when we don’t know that for a fact!

    • T.C. says:

      It’s not a myth. Her mother wasn’t Nubian, she was Greek and related to Cleopatra’s father. That family was all about incest, marrying siblings and cousins. They wanted to keep their blood pure from the locals. They didn’t even speak the local Eyptian language. Only Cleopatra took the time to learn the language to be a better ruler.

      So anyway is Zoe coming out as bisexual in this interview or what?

    • Mia says:

      @A says…. Myth,…. like Facts , historical record , her actual Ancestry

      The high degree of inbreeding amongst the Ptolemies is also evident when one considers Cleopatra’s immediate family.

      Her father was likely the uncle of Cleopatra’s mother.
      There were three uncle/niece and three brother/sister relationships in her ancestry going back to a single set of either great grandparents or great great grandparents, depending on how the ancestry is traced.
      The relatively small number of ancestors can be seen from the possible ancestry of Cleopatra VII .

      The Ptolemies, throughout their dynasty, spoke Greek and refused to speak Egyptian, which is the reason that Greek as well as Egyptian languages were used on official court documents.

      But some how a inbreeding insular ruling family , that didn’t want to lose any part of their Greek indenity, and was well documented believed Egyptian inferior race… But somehow Cleopatra who herself married her brother was of Egyptian blood..

      But you know maybe her mother wasn’t really who is on record as being her mother … …….That’s myth.

  47. A says:

    Zoe needs to study intersectionality.

  48. alibeebee says:

    Zoe is an not that bright . will make a terrible Nina simone terrible.. She’s ruining uhura in star trek . She not pretty and her attitude stinks ewww.
    SMDH

  49. Emily says:

    Cleopatra was the product of generations of inbreeding among a Greek family. As for her skin color — “race” was thought of very differently at the time, with culture and language being important and skin color not even being on the radar. However, the greatest ruler of Egypt, the one who truly deserves all the epic movies and attention Cleopatra gets, was Hatshepsut, and she was Egyptian through and through.

    I didn’t have an opinion on Zoe Saldana before this; I thought most of the hatred she got was undeserved. Now… she strikes me as kinda dim, even for Hollywood. Are celebrities getting dumber on average, or are they not being prepped enough or something?

  50. xxx says:

    Ha ha… Cleopatra wasn’t actually ethnically Egyptian like a modern Egyptian. She was a part of the Ptolemaic dynasty, so she was actually ethnically an ancient Greek. Not that Liz looks or is Greek either, but just thought I’d point that out!

  51. whateven says:

    I’ll come back when the white-washing of history stops.

  52. ViktoryGin says:

    This thread reminds me of a conversation that I had with my former Italian tutor. He was disdainful of the bilateral way that the US categorizes race. “White” is virtually synonomous with central, northern, and western Europe where fair phenotypic expression occurs with higher frequency. He is legally categorized as white, but seemed to be really irked that other didn’t. His girlfriend was Lebanese and he categorizes her as white, as well. While I understand the need for discriminatory accuracy, this belies a rather pathetic and obsessive need to prove one’s “whiteness”. This is what this thread reminds me of. Are you really perterbed by a need for proper taxonomy or is this an excuse to distance yourselves from…..less preferable associations?

    • Fran says:

      Totally got what you mean.I’m African-Italian and many people here in Italy,especially in the south,in the USA would come across as biracial or light-skinned blacks but don’t you dare tell them!they would instantly get offended!

  53. Hipocricy says:

    The problem I see here, and this coming from an Afropean who still maintain close ties with Africa even if in Europe, is that people mix different concepts and transfer their own racial codification to claim one character over another group.

    First let me start that only in the US there is the one drop rule that rules,. Everywhere, in Europe, Africa, mixed people identfy themselves as mixed, Black or White (expecially Quadroons, like i have in my own family identify themselves as Whites most of the time).

    Tell that to Adriana Lima that she is Black. At most she will refer herself as being mixed but if she was born in the US, she will be refered as an African American.

    Second, being African doesn’t necessary mean that you have melanine or are necessarly of Bantu lineage. There are different types of groups, like in every continent. Sudanese and Bantus people are on the western, central and southern hemisphere, with in each groups, various skintones and features as well.

    Nothern Africa as of today are made of Arab people and a little bit of bantus, most of them desecnts of slaves from subsaharian countries.

    Also in many north african countries the more you climb socially, the more you will see Arabs with lighter skin tone, sometimes lighter eyes. They tend to marry each other like in many society.

    If you look at the last lineage of pharaons in the 19s…you could swear, that princess Fawzia’s beauty was very reminescence of Vivien Leigh and Elyzabeth Taylor.

    Like in here :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/magdamalek/2003597159/

    The thing is an Egyptian, a Greek, has more legitimacy to claim Cleopatra as even if she may have been mixed, i don’t think she had some bantu type in her.

    What bugs me at time is that I would rather have my people actually looking for great African leaders, and there are plenty of heroines who made great impact, than claiming a character that may have some vague african blood in her, without even knowing her true african lineage, just to get the job.

    I think it’s laziness. Take Nefertiti for example, who we know was nhilothic, hence from the amitis, a black african ethnicity, like Ethiopians, Erythreans, ect…

    At least even if most AA are from bantu lineage, they could claim it with more legitimacy than Cleopatra.

    There are other revolutionary sisters like Dona Beatriz, née Kimpa Vita.

    In the 15′s century the Kongo Kingdom (current Angola, part of DRC and part of the Congo) was the most famous and prominent of the continent with ambassadors in Portugal.

    Portugal decided to start the slavery trade from Central Africa to Brasil. Spain eventually stepped in and fought against Portugal starting its own slavery from the Kongo to what is now Cuba and Domenican Republic (yeah im talking to you Zoe). At this point the Kongo Kingdom made a deal with the Portuguse Royal House for its people to be spared from it, a deal that was soon broken and led to a devastating war against Portugal.

    Decades later, there was this Young prophetess Kimpa Vita who wanted to reorganise the Kongo Kingdom and fought back to stop slavery. She was caught by the Portuguese army and was burnt alive at 22.

    She is our Joan of Ark and is still celebrated in certain areas of Angola, Brasil and DRC.

    There are plenty of African leaders that have made things that could be told through Hollywood movies. But you have to really show some real interset for your own history and not just show up when someone else make the X version of the same character with the one drop rule of african blood.

    We are too lazy to explore our own history (a rich one at that) pre as well as post diaspora where we could find a couple of our true leaders and heros from Africa, Europe and the Americas, heros and heroins we could portray with more legitimacy and so much pride.

    • History says:

      That whole essay for what exactly?
      No one is trying to “claim” Cleopatra, we are just saying that she most likely wasn’t a lily white English woman with violet eyes (as some like to claim).
      Honestly, the only people I see trying to claim Cleopatra are white people (Specifically greeks).
      There are plenty of evidence to suggest she has black mixture from her maternal side (See link above) and her sister apparently shows she was at the very least half black/nubian/Ethiopian.
      I’m not very invested in this, but I don’t like white washing of history or repeated myths and lies.
      At the end of the day we don’t know what she looked like.

      • Hipocricy says:

        Well, the essay as you call it, coming from a black person, is to say that she COULD be lilly white or not since the egyptian pharaon in the 19′s looked very much Scarlett Oharaish and that even if she was mixed, there is no point for one group to claim MORE legitimacy than the other one based on a potential mixity between european and arabs who are non bantu africans.

        This essay was also to show that we Black people would be better of learning our history and putting out there proven black characters instead of acting all defensive for a character with possible one drop rule and claim it.

        And if we were so concerned about legitimacy and Hollywood whietwashing, we would actually put the effort and resourceS to do movies with those characters.

        Whitewashing is true when it comes to Hollywood, but americanizing every characters, including with racial codification is also true.

        You can’t have it both ways.

  54. Gossip Garl says:

    She said she isn’t flat ironing her hair, so it could get ‘afro’ again..When she said this a while ago,her hair was looking all photo shopped on the cover.Above pic makes her more credible.Besides that,she has an air,not big, but its there…it kinda stinks,they would say in my language.

  55. Dommy Dearest says:

    I’m not understanding why it would be an outrage for her to play Nina.

    I understood Halle Berry for Selina Kyle/Catwoman rage but I’m not smelling what she’s stepping in. Did she say that just to get publicity and her name attached to a project that I’m guessing is a Nina movie? Lifetime movie?

    Woman needs a dictionary though. For sure.

  56. Me says:

    LMAO at the desperation to claim whiteness in this comment section. “She was white! She was white! She was white!” “Greeks are white! Arabs are white! I am white!” Goodness.