Zoe Saldana in character as Nina Simone: is this a joke or can she pull it off?

By popular request, here are some of the photos of Zoe Saldana in character as Nina Simone for the long-gestating bio-pic Nina. I kept forgetting to write about these pics, partly because I didn’t really know what to say and partly because I didn’t know what to say about my personal discomfort with Zoe Saldana taking a role in which she has to undergo a makeup transformation to make her skin darker.

Now, I am a Nina Simone fan, even more so as the years go by. Years ago, I was probably more into Aretha Franklin and Billie Holliday, but as I get older, I appreciate Nina Simone’s vocal talents more and more. But my Nina Simone fan-girl status is just about her music – I know next to nothing about her life. I don’t really know if there is a “Nina Simone look” or a certain style that can be particularly attributed to Simone. As I was looking through some photos of the real Nina Simone… it has become increasingly clear to me that Zoe Saldana looks nothing like her. Here’s the real Nina:

See? How in the world does Zoe Saldana look like that? Is it offensive that Hollywood producers were just like, “Well, Nina Simone was a black woman so we need to find a black actress to play her, and it doesn’t matter what that actress looks like beyond her skin color”?

Apparently, Zoe is wearing prosthetics on her face and a ton of makeup to achieve this “look”. But Nina Simone’s daughter Lisa told the NYT: “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.” You know who Zoe looks like with all of this makeup and stuff? Old-school Jada Pinkett Smith. Right?

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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165 Responses to “Zoe Saldana in character as Nina Simone: is this a joke or can she pull it off?”

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  1. I'm going to Guam! says:

    I don’t get it.
    Instead of this ridiculous dark make up and what looks like body make up – Why didn’t she just go to a tanning salon to go a few shades darker? I mean, that would help a little and then they could have just focused on the prosthetics.

    • Kate says:

      Tanning is extremely unhealthy, even dangerous. No one should be encouraged to go to a tanning salon.

  2. Birdie says:

    So they did a blackface on a black woman.. is that racist?

    • poppy says:

      infuriating that they have 2 beautiful women yet have made both simone and saldana ugly.
      seriously, there was NOBODY else that can act and not have to be painted and wear a prosthetic?
      sad that hollyweird has 1 definition of what female beauty is. all of these women shaving down noses and jaws, implanting cheeks and lips. people mention it here often how some celebrities are starting to look freakishly the same. they are as they all had the same work done to look “right”. i saw a picture of joan van ark and realized almost every “famous” “blond” celebrity is going to look just like her in a few years. especially the goop. same hair, same lifts, same nose job, implants. it all looks the same because it is all the same procedure so they can look “acceptable”.
      i think they could have found a better actress that can actually sing AND that looks more like nina simone.

    • V4Real says:

      I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are being racist but Zoe is not Black. She is Puerto Rican and Dominican. Now I kind of applauded her for having the skin tone to play various races, hence her playing a Black woman in Guess Who, Star Trek and Death at a Funeral. The problem I have with this is that there are plenty of Black actresses that can play the part of Nina Simone, some of them who you wouldn’t have to Black face to play that role. Why take the risk of insulting Black people by casting a Latino in that role. I’m sure a lot of people would have been upset if they had cast someone like Halle Berry or Vanessa Williams to play the part of Selena (Just saying).

      When they made the movie Alex Hayley’s Queen they lightened Halle’s skin to play that role but at least they used a Black woman and not a Caucasian person.

      Zoe is an ok actress but please don’t tell me she got that role because her acting ability is so outstanding.

      Let’s throw out names of Black women who could easily play Nina Simone.

      Kelly Roland
      Taraji P. Henson
      Jennifer Hudson
      Alicia Keys
      Gabrielle Union
      Kerry Washington
      Sanan Lathan
      Joy Bryant
      Regina King
      Tika Sumpter
      Anika Noni Rose and the list goes on.

      In Zoe’s defense the role first went to Mary J. Blige but she backed out.

      I hope she does well with the role but what’s next; will she lightened her skin and play the next Jackie O?

      • KC says:

        Nicely put.
        Too many underutilized, amazing actresses as you mentioned above.


      • cmc says:

        I agree with many of the things that you said- but not that Zoe (and other African-Latinos) are not “black enough”. I consider myself a proud black woman, although I was born in the Dominican Republic. My ancestors were dragged from Africa and enslaved in the Caribbean. Sorry if the fact that they were dropped off on an island before the boat continued to America makes me not black enough for you.

        However, *yes*, her skin is much lighter and her features very different from Nina Simone’s, and yes the actresses you mentioned would have been better. Not for the reason you stated though.

      • T.C. says:

        “When they made the movie Alex Hayley’s Queen they lightened Halle’s skin to play that role but at least they used a Black woman and not a Caucasian person.”

        What are you talking about, Zoe Saldana IS Black, Halle Berry is the Cauasian one. Halle’s mom is a blue-eyed blonde, she is at least half Cauasian. Zoe’s mom and Dad are both Black but from Latin America. Latinas come in different races including Black. Calling a Black woman wearing darker makeup as wearing Blackface is so WTF. Was Charlize Theron wearing Whiteface when they changed her face and skin tone in Monster?

      • L says:

        Mary J would have been AWESOME for this role.

      • Chris says:

        Wow so now you’re black only if you’re from the United States? Nice job negating the experience of millions and millions of people all over Latin America.

        You can be a hispanic (not all latin americans are), a latin american and black.

      • Caribcanadian says:

        Zoe Saldana, whether she admits it or not, is of African descent and is without a doubt Black. I mean really does she look white to you. And even then skin color/features do not necessarily define one’s heritage. Anyone who is a product of the transatlantic slave trade is of mixed heritage. Latina is not a ‘race’. All it means is that you are from a country (Caribbean or American continent) that is Spanish speaking. That’s it that’s all. You could be white, black, mixed heritage as we all are (the world population I mean) brown, yellow, red, pink and any other color you wish and be a Latina, American, Canadian, German, Swedish, Nigerian, Mozambican etc…

      • ClaireB says:

        Or Viola Davis, she would have looked great. Don’t know about her singing abilities but..

      • Zoe Saldana is also a black woman who can pull off the character.. Before we make a casting judgement, perhaps we should see if Zoe does as good as the women you mentioned. Both she and Nina are beautiful women, why do we always have to key on what is unimportant. Chocolate comes in all colors including white, just give the black girls a chance to work.

      • Raven says:

        I agree with californialady. The question is, can she inhabit the character. Because if she can, the audience will forget the facial differences.

      • V4Real says:

        No one said your only Black if you were born in the USA. Where did that come from?

      • JennJennM says:

        Alicia Keys has light skin and Caucasian facial features thanks to her white mother, she looks no more like Nina Simone than Zoe Saldana, who is also of mixed African and European ancestry like most Domonicans. There are so many talented black actresses like Viola Davis who could play Nina Simone without the blackface or prosthetic nose.

      • shedakat says:

        you do know that you can be black and latino right? The dominican republic is full of black people. She looks black and her family looks black. That said they should have gone with a different actress its takes away from the story and focuses on the makeup and fake nose.

      • Amelia says:

        Zoe is a black Hisp. woman and thinks herself so. She may be from the Islands or so but she is of African descent… Period.

      • FingerBinger says:

        Zoe Saladana is Black. There are Black people in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican and Dominican are ethnicities you can be Black and be from those countries.

      • SLL says:

        Zoe Saldana IS black. You think she just “looks” black just because? “Dominican” and “Puerto Rican” are not races, they’re nationalities. There are a number black people in PR and the Dominican Republic; especially the latter. DR has one of the heaviest population in the African Diaspora. So do Colombia and Brazil.

      • Loira says:

        I am sorry if anyone posted this already. Zoe Saldana, wheter she belongs to an Spanish speaking culture or not, considers herself a black woman. She has said that very clearly to press in her own country. Here is the quote, you can google it:
        ““When I go to the D.R., the press in Santo Domingo always asks, “¿Qué te consideras, dominicana o americana?” (What do you consider yourself, Dominican or American?) I don’t understand it, and it’s the same people asking the same question. So I say, time and time again, “Yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman.”) [They go,] “Oh, no, tú eres trigueñita.” (“Oh no, you are ‘dark skinned’”) I’m like, “No! Let’s get it straight, yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman.

        Me: the casting looks “off”, but hopefully the final result is better. Calling Zoe not black for not being a black woman born in the USA is weird. If she were born in the US to the same Spanish speaking family, then she would be black?

    • V4Real says:

      @CMC While you and Zoe may consider yourself Black, a large percentage of Domicans consider themselves Latino and some even become upset if you call them Black. Step into almost any bodega in NY and call a Domincan person black and watch the eyeroll they will give you. Plus let’s not forget that Zoe is not 100% Domincan, she is also Puerto Rican. I think you have the right to identify with being Black if that’s your choosing. I wouldn’t be offended if I met a Sicilian person who considered themselves Black because if you believe the history, that part of Italy was where the Moors habited and Moors were considered Black. But I wouldn’t think it was fair for an Italian person to play the role of a Black character when there are many Black actors/actresses who can play that part.

      • cmc says:

        I’m in NY too 🙂 But I’ll give you that- a lot of Dominicans are offended when you call them/us “black”, because the Dominican Republic is a very racist country and society views lighter people as better, more attractive, and more desirable (hmm, doesn’t that sound familiar?) That just means they’re being silly/racist, not that we are not black people. Plus, there’s a lot of Spanish and native american blood in a lot of people’s bloodlines. Mine is about 3/4s African, 1/4 Taino – and I still consider myself black. I have Dominican friends who will shush me and say “Don’t call yourself black!”, and gave me crap about joining Black Girls Run! So silly. My skin is black, my ancestors are African, and so are Zoe’s. This is a quote about her feelings about her race:

        “When I go to the D.R., the press in Santo Domingo always asks, “¿Qué te consideras, dominicana o americana?” (What do you consider yourself, Dominican or American?) I don’t understand it, and it’s the same people asking the same question. So I say, time and time again, “Yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman.”) [They go,] “Oh, no, tú eres trigueñita.” (“Oh no, you are ‘dark skinned’”) I’m like, “No! Let’s get it straight, yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman).”

        That said, YES, I agree that she does not look the part for that role. I agree that there are dozens of readily available actresses that are at least equally as well known as she is and probably much more talented whose casting would not offend the memory of Nina Simone. I agree that the role should have been given to a darker-skinned actress, and that darker-skinned actresses get the boot sometimes and it’s completely unfair, ridiculous, racist, and extremely obvious.

        But that doesn’t make Zoe, or me, “not black”.

      • Chris says:

        Puerto Ricans are mixed too. There are black Puerto Ricans.

        Again, the black experience is not reserved to people from the United States and just because you’ve met hispanics who don’t want to call themselves black (and there is a historic reason for that related to racism) does not mean that you get the authority to deny the blackness of latin americans.

        Again, being latin has nothing to do with race. There are light skinned latino, dark skinned latinos and a bunch of shades in between.

        I am, myself, a woman of color. My mother is dark skinned and my father light skinned and the further up you move my mother’s ancestors the darker they get all the way up to slavery.

        Just because you met latins who don’t want to be called black does not mean that you get to deny what is my heritage and identity.

      • Caribcanadian says:


        Seriously!!!!!It’s not about whether or not a large part of Dominicans or Puerto Ricans consider themselves Black or not….The woman has African ancestry and there is no way to deny it. The way that people were indoctrinated to hate their African ancestry and the societal stucture of countries that were, at one time, solely slave plantations explains many of the reasons why some people with obvious African ancestry try to deny it. I mean can’t you see that she is Black? I mean there is no mistaking it. Sheesh…It is what it is.

      • cluckyclucks says:

        The main reason why Dominicans and Puerto Ricans do not consider themselves Black is because a lot of them (not all) despise anything that is African. There’s a long history of colorism, discrimination, and racism in these Latin American countries which is why so many of them refuse to call themselves Black or even admit they have African ancestry. A lot of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans call themselves “Latino” but that has nothing to do with their racial makeup. I’ve heard people in the Dominican Republic who are clearly of African ancestry call themselves “Indio” (for Indian even though they may not be)or call themselves mixed even though they are not. And I honestly would not go to a Newyorican or a Dominican American for history lesson in race because a lot of them are clueless about the issues in their ancestors land. Not all but a lot. Zoe said herself in an interview “Yo soy una negra!” (I am a black woman). So how can you sit there and say that she’s not Black when she has said she is herself? You should watch the PBS series “Black in Latin America”. It’s a true eye opener.

        P.S: The reason Hispanics (a word made up by the U.S government btw) and Latinos were considered white was simply based on looks. Not their actual ancestry.

      • Janet says:

        Just like Americans, Hispanics come in all colors, especially in the Caribbean. My ex-husband and his family are all black Puerto Ricans and refer to themselves as afroboricua (Afro-Puerto Rican).

      • QQ says:

        Ugh As the Daughter of Dominicans i can SO identify with that unhealthy nonsense, Ive had to put PLENTY of family members in place over that sort of colorism self hating crap

      • babythastarsshinebrite says:

        If “black” is referring to race I truly believe, as a black person, it describes a black American, meaning a person whose ancestors were brought to America from Africa as slaves; therefore, not having a particular country to identify with. Even many Africans I know, quite a few in Seattle where I am, would not consider themselves as black.

      • Beatriz says:

        @CMC-I just remembered Trujillo used to powder his face, so it would look whiter. Sigh. I will never understand how so many Latins can be racist, considering our history (I’m from Chile btw).

      • V4real says:

        LENA whether i’m grasping at straws or not do’nt try to take away the other rumors about Zoe. Sometimes rumors are just extentions oruth. Isn’t this a gossip site.closdo Just because a celebrity says something to appeal to a certain race or demographic doesn’t mean they don’t speak their ttue feelings behind closex doors. How you know she did’t speak these things? Don’t get upset with me cause Zoe might be playing all you. I can believe it when she says black actresses are lazy.

      • V4Real says:

        Oh and Lena; I don’t see you jumping down Juicy Lucy throat about the comment she made in comment 55. Apparenlty she heard the same rumors about Zoe. So perhaps Zoe is playing you; so deal with that.

    • BrandNew says:

      Yes…racist and stupid. She looks nothing like Nina….bad casting. There are plenty of black actresses who could do the role. She looks l ike an idiot with all that makeup

    • V4Real says:

      @TC so now you want to offend Latin and Hispanic people by saying that Zoe is Black. Her mother is Puerto Rican and most Puerto Ricans will tell you that they do not consider themselves Black as well as most Domincans.

      I know Latinas come in various races and shades, duh!. Look at Laz Alonso, he is from Cuba but most people think he is Black American. In Fast and Furious he played the role of a Latin person but most of his other movies he played the role of a Black man.

      As for Halle Berry we know her mother is White but her father is Black. Halle identifies as Black but to say Zoe is Black just don’t seem right. I’ll ask you this question,should we make Italians from Sicily admit that they are Black because they are decendents of The Moors?

      Also let’s not forget it wasn’t that long ago that Hispanics and Latinos were considered White. That’s a known fact. Blacks were always considered Black no matter how mixed they were.
      As for Charlize she was still a White woman playing the part of a White woman. Should we get Naya Rivera from Glee to play Lena Horne because she also have Black roots?

      Bottom line they should have considered a Black actress to play such an iconic role.

      • T.C. says:

        Halle Berry’s mother is white. No matter what Halle looks like on the outside or what she identifies herself as she is half White. Will always be half White that’s why she gets cast so much in Hollywood. It’s messed up to call her a real Black Woman compared to Zoe. Like Zoe is a fake Black woman. A half White Woman is more Black than her?

      • annie says:

        V4 real your comments make no sense. Halle Berry is allowed to be black because she “identifies” as black, yet Zoe Saldana (who also identifies as black and has described herself that way in interviews) isn’t?! Clearly they are both women of mixed ethnicity who choose to identify as black. The fact that you’ve met other people from the Dominican Republic who might feel differently doesn’t change that. Stop putting people in boxes and assuming that everyone from a certain country is the same. I agree with you that Zoe isn’t a great choice for the part, but your line of reasoning is flawed and frankly pretty offensive.

      • V4Real says:

        This apply to all who responded to my comments. Just like I said Halle has the right to identify as being Black, I also said that Zoe has the right to identify as being Black, I did say it’s her choice. But it still doesn’t mean just because she considers herself Black that other Puerto Ricans and Domincans have to consider themselves Black as well. Yes I know that slaves were dragged to DR but that’s not to say that all people on that Island were Black. That would be like saying there were only Black people in Jamaica, when we know that there are White Jamicans. Slaves were dragged to America as well but that doesn’t make everybody in America Black just because slaves were brought here. It was a mixture of people.
        Don’t forget the first people to inhabit that island before Columbus brought the slaves over where the Tainos.
        None of you answered the question I asked about the Moors. You have a lot to say about one particular group but I don’t see anyone responding to whether or not Sicilians are Black.
        Don’t call Latinos or Hispanics racist because they refuse to say they are Black. Why are you guys so bent on taking away their rights to identify with what they claim to be but it’s ok for Zoe to do it. Why are you trying to strip them of their heritage? Domicans come from European heritage as well but I don’t see you guys calling them White. There have been ongoing arguments that Columbus is Italian, while others say he was a Spainard. That being said they did have relations with the Tainos women. Therefore we can’t say that all Domincans are Black. They would be of Italian or Spanish lineage as well. So why call them one thing but yet ignore the other. Let’s just say we agree to disagree. Yes Zoe may have Black ancestry but she is of Hispanic heritage. Most Domincans identify as being Latin America, not Latin Black America.

        We all know that Hispanics comes in all shades,so does Black people that wasn’t the issue so there’s no need to keep saying that.

        So many of you are defending Zoe because I said she is Hispanic but she claims to be a Black woman. I know that Hispanic is more of a culture or nationality but it’s almost as if she is denying that. We can’t be mad at baseball player Alex Rodriguez who is Domincan and says he is Hispanic, not Black. I know Zoe said she sees herself as a Black woman but for all we know she could just be talking about her phenotype. When she looks in the mirror she sees Black. Look at Wentworth Miller; would you call him Black by just looking at him. His skin type is White but his father is Black American and Black Jamican, mixed with English. If he looks in the mirror and says he’s a white man, then that’s what he sees.

        @Annie yes Halle is biracial but say she is a black woman..um so does society, sorry. But the difference between Halle and Zoe is that Halle is not of Hispanic heritage as we know but Zoe is. I’m not putting her in a box, she is doing that to herself. She should have said she was Black Hispanic.
        Let’s put it this way, no one can say they are 100% anything anymore. Somewhere down the line we are all mixed with something. So yes if Zoe wants to claim her blackness let her do so; I wished the Census Bureau felt the same way.

        Once agin they could have found a better actress to play Nina Simone. What’s wrong with getting a woman of color who a large percent of Black people can identify with as being Black? Now if Nina Simone was Black Hispanic, then Zoe would be fine for the part.

      • lena80 says:

        I think you need to learn the difference between race and ethnicity as well research information about the African Diaspora which includes populations OUTSIDE of Africa: African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Afro-Latin Americans and Black Canadians – Descendants of West African slaves brought to the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America during the Atlantic slave trade.

        I don’t think Zoe is right for the role for numerous reasons which include colorism, but for you to continuously refute HER OWN PROCLAMATION that she is a black woman is ridiculous. Furthermore, using examples of SOME people that get offended if you call them black when there is a vast amount of information on the African Diaspora and it’s relation to colorism, racism, caste system, etc and it’s effects on the social construct of Caribbean history refutes your argument. There is no point in being willfully ignorant on a subject by basing it on you what you have seen amongst some people that hail from the Caribbean.

      • carlino altoviti says:

        Sicilians are not black becouse they aren’t moors descendats. Moors were the inabhitants of the North africa really, and they aren’t blacks.
        Moors were expulsed from Sicily by the Emperor Frederick II in the 1200.

      • lena80 says:

        Why does Zoe HAVE to say she is Afro-Latina?

        If it helps “I’m just Zoe. Not a little bit Dominican, not a little bit Puerto Rican, none of that silliness…I am what you want me to be if that’s what it takes for you to overcome your insecurities. As a Latina, I think we should be very proud of our heritage. We tend to look for European roots and reject the indigenous and the African, and that is disgusting. Being Latin is a mix of everything. I want my people to not be as insecure, and to adore what we are because it’s beautiful.”

        Black is not all inclusive to just African American descendants of the slave trade. I don’t know what you aren’t understanding about that. She described herself as a black woman and you are the one who chose to put her in a box stating that she should say that she is Afro-Latina. Why? She evidently has a firm grasp of the what the term Black means, you are the one who thinks that it does not include Afro-Cuban, Afro-Latino etc.. Black DOES NOT ONLY mean African American. Furthermore, to answer your questions about Sicilians and their Black ancestry…some Sicilians have NORTH AFRICAN ancestry such as Tunisian, Libyan, Moroccan, etc..Again this is not indicative of “black” in the terms that your are thinking of. Furthermore, at the time of the invasion of Sicily, the term that you used to describe the invaders were not black in the sense of modern use. The word was used widely and interchangeably for anyone with “dark” skin…so some Sicilians may have black ancestry in the terms that you are thinking of (sub-Sahara), while others may have arabic, moroccan, etc.. ancestry. I think people got carried away with Dennis Hopper’s speech in that movie as if it was 100% factual.

      • V4Real says:

        @Lena I do know the difference between race and ethnicty perhaps you missed the part in my comment where I said Hispanic is more of a culture or nationality. Also I know all about colorism and the African Diaspora. I learned even more about it in a Black/Hispanic college with a Black professor. In class we not only researched it and read about it, we also discussed it. We all had various opinions about it. Some disagreed with me while others agreed. I also said that Zoe may have Black ancestry just like you said about the Moors. As for Dennis Hopper, I don’t know what movie you are referring to. People called me out for saying that Zoe is Hispanic but if a Hispanic or Latino claims that they are not Black, then they are all racist against their heritage. What would have been the conversation if Zoe said she was a Hispanic woman?

        No one is saying nothing I haven’t heard before about DR considering the lighter skinned as more acceptable (this is referring to CMC’s earlier comment) I have done research on this for a class project as well as interviewed people from various hispanic back groundsand know that certain types of Hispanics and Latin people feel surperior to the others, so do various Black races. That’s not the argumnet. My argument is IMO Zoe is Hispanic, just because she has Black ancestry does not make her Black. My second argumnet was that it’s not fair to call all Dominicans and Puerto Ricans Black and call them racist when they only identify with their Hispanic heritage. One last thing I didn’t say Zoe should say she is Afro Latino, I said Black Hispanic. I never use the word Afro because I know some Black people don’t like that word, but that discussion is saved for another day. Also if you notice Zoe never said Afro American either she said Black woman which could also interpret as the tone of her skin.

        I use to debate the one drop rule myself and would say if that’s the case then there are a lot of Caucasian people walking around thinking that they are White.

        There are Caucasians with Black ancestry as well; does that make them Black. Are they considered racist like Dominicans and Puerto Ricans who say they are not Black? I look at things from all sides of the coin. The one drop rule was actually put into Law. What we are discussing is not law but history and a matter of opinions. Correct me if I’m wrong. History then goes on to tell us that Caucasians could have up to 1/8 or 1 quarter of Black ancestry and still be considered White. Why can’t this be the case with Hispanics; just because they have Black ancestry doesn’t mean they have to be Black. I am not being willingly ignorant, I know the histroy too.
        Lastly I’m allowed to use examples of what some Hispanics believe because like I said all this is, is just a matter of history, what we have read and believe to be true and a matter of opinions. This is not Law unlike the one drop rule.
        Poor JLo I guess she’s the biggest racist of them all because she calls herself Latino, not Black.
        As a friend of mine once said, Dominicans, Africans, Puerto Ricans, Americans it doesn’t matter cause we’re all cans.

      • Chris says:

        You seem to be confused in your own argument. No one said all Latinos had to identify themselves as black. People simply said there are black latinos. That’s all.

        People responded to your claim that by being latino she was precluded from being black.

        You’re the one making the absolute argument, not everybody else.

        And again, you don’t get to define what she is. She doesn’t have to identify as anyting just because you think her being from Latin American descent excludes her from what you define as black or African-American.

      • V4Real says:

        @Chris I am not confused in my argument. I stated that Zoe was Hispanic not Black and you guys jumped on me for saying that. If you read through all the comments you will see where some people called hispanics racist for not identifing as Black. I didn’t start that they did. My first comment only mention her as being Hispanic and other actresses that should have been offered the role. I said nothing about Hispanics being labeled one thing or another until the reponses after my first comment.

        Also when did I say Hispanics were preluded from being Black. Show me where I said that. I believe you are the one confused my friend.

        Lastly I also said she can be what she wants, that’s her choice but it don’t mean I have to agree with her. Yes she has Black ancestry but that doesn’t make her Black. I stand by that. I also stand by my comment that not all Hispanics are Black, I never said there are no Black Hispanics. I just don’t think she is. Like I said if that’s the case then there are plenty of Caucasians that are Black and they don’t know it because they have Black ancestry. Would you consider Caucasians with Black ancestry Black. Anyways like I said we can agree to disagree, that’s why it’s a gossip site. But don’t accuse me of saying something I didn’t say.

      • lena80 says:


        You are clearly not keeping up with what you typed. You said you don’t think she is black and that you think she is latino and this is the problem because people can be both. Your statement about what she “is” is what started the whole debate. Furthermore, if you are going to say you know difference between race and ethnicity then why are you asking a question about if white people have black ancestry are they black and directly follow up with a question about two ethnic groups…Dominicans and Puerto Ricans? I didn’t see anyone calling Puerto Ricans or Dominicans racist if they say are black, but I might have missed it.

        I’m having a hard understanding why you aren’t grasping that people can be white hispanic/black hispanic, Hispanic is an ethnicity. Black is a race. Zoe identifies herself as Black/Afro-Latino. You are wrongly summarizing what “black” is under an outdated narrow mindset of what YOUR view of what “Black” is. It’s more than just African American. Again, you really need to read about the African Diaspora and it’s effects on the Caribbean islands and the caste system it created amongst the people. She identifies as Black/Afro-Latino, Black is not just African American, and I would advise you not tell people what you think they are when they clearly state what they are.

      • V4Real says:

        Lena did you just not read in my comment prior to this one that I said the argument started after I said I didn’t consider Zoe Black? Maybe you are not keeping up with what I typed. I basically said the debate started after I posted my first comment; so you are stating what I already admitted to. Some people got offended because I said Zoe wasn’t Black. TC said Halle wasn’t Black, I didn’t get offended, that’s his/her opinion. I also said that if Zoe claims to be a Black woman then it’s her choice but I don’t have to agree with her. Just like you don’t have to agree with Hispanics who don’t consider themselves part of the Black ancestry. Yes I asked about the ancestry of Caucasians because someone said that Domincans are Black because they have Black Ancestry and my point was just becasue you have ancesters that are Black don’t necessarily make you Black.

        Also it was CMC and Clucky who spoke about Domicans having racist views for denying their black heritage.

        Once again I know Black is a race, I know Hispanic is an ethnicity. BTW I also know that some Hispanics consider themselves just that, an ethnic group, not belonging to White nor Black. Jesus Christ I know that Black is more than African American (African, you’re word). Like I said earlier some Black people don’t like the term African American. Once again I have read the African Diaspora. I also stated earlier that their are Domincans of European ancestry.
        I am not telling people what I think they are, I only mention what I think Zoe is and i’m sure she is not commenting on this thread. Therefore your advice is ill advised. If my Hispanic friends want to identify as not being Black but as being a nationality then they have the right to do that as well as others.

        We can continue all this back and fourth until next year, it’s not going to make a difference in opinions. That’s why I said lets agree to disagree. I’ll end it this way, they should have gotten a non Hispanic Black to play that role, Is that better than saying Zoe isn’t Black?

      • lena80 says:


        You really aren’t getting it. Who are you, or anyone else for the matter, to tell or say what someone else “IS” when said person has clearly stated what they identify as? The fact that you, or anyone else, thinks that it is appropriate to say what Race and/or Ethnicity someone is when they have let the world know time and time again what they identify as is beyond inappropriate. Furthermore, if you have read about African Diaspora and its effects on the Caribbean islands, and if you know the difference between race and ethnicity, and you know that some people identify as black/afro-hispanic/latino, you would have NEVER have said “but Zoe is not Black. She is Puerto Rican and Dominican.” You, and no one else, should never put themselves in a position to self project what you “think” someone is…it’s not even a matter of opinion or agreeing to disagree when someone states what they are and you say otherwise. And for you to refute it when you were initially corrected by stating what you witnessed amongst SOME Dominican Republicans in NY adds further insult to injury. One small subjection does not speak for the millions. It’s never just an “opinion” to tell someone what YOU think they are when they have stated otherwise. There is nothing wrong with asking a person if you are sure, but flat out saying well she thinks she is this but I don’t agree, I think she is that and that’s my opinion is WRONG…PERIOD.

      • V4Real says:

        Lena read Blunt talker comment located at comment 57. If this is true then what’s all the fuss over saying Zoe is not Black? If the girl herself is saying she identifies with her Latin culture and was told by her own mother that she is not Black why are you guys defending her so? Yes I said she’s not Black but then there is no harm if she is saying it herself.
        But if the girl is doing what a lot of people think she is doing; which is to pretend that she identifies as Black to get the Black roles then she just made your whole defense pointless. I was not even going to take it there but because Blunt talker paved the way I decided to open the flood gates. This could all be just rumors but isn’t this a gossip and rumor site and we just give our opinions to what we think?

        There were also rumors that she said she don’t date Black men. I know who you date is a prefernce but then maybe there is some truth to the above comment. I read other people comments about Zoe being Black and found that there are quite a few people who don’t believe she is Black and some base it on that one drop rule and what the girl is rumored to have said herself.

        Anyways if the girl is pulling the wool over your eyes then shame on her. You guys really went to bat for her.

      • lena80 says:

        I provided you..as well as another person…with direct quotes from Zoe’s interviews, not what someone thinks they read. And let me make it clear, I’m not going to bat for Zoe, she’s proven herself to be dumb a** over and over again on numerous topics. What I will dispute is anyone that says what someone is OR isn’t and base that on what other people are saying. Simple as that. You contradicted yourself repeatedly throughout this thread and it started with your remark about how Zoe isn’t black, she’s Puerto Rican and Dominican. And when you were repeatedly told that SOME Dominicans and SOME Puerto Ricans fall under the umbrella of Black and refer to themselves as such you still disputed it by saying it’s just your opinion while at the same stating that you are aware of the African Diaspora and that there are black/afro-latinos/hispanics. And then you went even further by asking about Sicilians and the “Moor” invasion and are they black when the term “moor” meant anyone with dark skin. If your are going to claim you know about the African Diaspora as well as claiming to know the difference between race and ethnicity…you would have never made the statement that you made. And even if you didn’t know, who are you to emphatically state what someone is or isn’t especially when they have repeatedly said what they are? It’s not appropriate, just like it’s not appropriate for anyone to go into a NY Dominican bodega and tell them that they are black. At this point you really need to stop grasping for straws (what someone says they read without providing a quote, and FYI, I couldn’t find one or rumors of her dating preference) and acknowledge that your initial comment (Zoe isn’t black, she PR and Dominican) was ignorant and flawed when you take it upon yourself to delegate what a person is or isn’t or what they should identify as.

      • V4Real says:

        Lena I still believe that Zoe is not Black and I said that because she said she was a Black woman. I’ll stick with that, no contradiction there sweetheart. Now if she claims to be Black Hispanic then fine. But to say she is a straight out Black woman, come on. Also I never said that Blacks are only indigenousness to America as some people on this thread kept implying. I live in NY for God sake and was born in the Bronx.
        I also conceded and said she can be whatever she claims to be. But don’t look down on people of her same ethnic makeup when they claim to not be Black or refuse to accept any race as their own. Remember you where the one who issued the advice of don’t tell people what they are when they straight out tell you what they identify with. But didn’t you contradict yourself in that statement because you went on to give a history lesson about Dominicans when it suited your purpose but yet you told me not to base my comments on a few Hispancis in NY. Aren’t you telling the ones that I mention that they are Black even when they said they are not? Isn’t that ignorance on your part? Yes I mention the Moors as a way to say just because someone has dark skin doesn’t mean they are Black. Someone on this thread said look at Zoe don’t she look Black.I also mention the one drop rule as to say that because you have black ancestry, doesn’t mean you are Black. I read the quote that Zoe said about being Black. She didn’t even say her parents came from Black ancestry, she said her mother is PR and her father is DR but she is Black. Once again she can just be talking about her phenotype is Black, hey so was Bin Laden skin and I don’t consider him Black either, when he was alive that is.

        You claim I’m grasping at straws because of the info I pointed out in Blunt’s comment but isn’t this a gossip site? Sometimes rumors are just an exaggeration of the truth. Just because a celebrity says one thing to appeal to a certain race or demographic doesn’t mean they don’t speak their true feelings away from the public. We hear rumors about celebs all the time, even right here on this site and we form our own opinions about it. If you were not one to pay attention to rumors you wouldn’t be on Celebitchy in the first place.

        Why is it so hard for you to belive that there is some chance that what Blunt said isn’t the way Zoe truly feels. I can to a point believe she said Black actresses are lazy. Look at her track record. She mainly goes for the not Black Hispanic, but Black roles. You can say I’m grasping at straws all you like but don’t blame me if you are getting played by Zoe because she and her camp came up with a way to get her work in Hollywood. I can believe this is all a ploy for her to exploit her blackness for acting gigs. But if this is what she is truly doing then she is a disgrace to any race or ethnic group.How many other Latinos feel the need to point out that they are black. What is she trying to prove by saying that. And please don’t tell me it’s because they ask her about her race in interviews, if that was the case they would ask every Latino/Hispanic actress in Hollywood about their ethnicity and what they identify with. BTW you may have not been able to find her dating preference but check her dating histroy.
        On a different note I googled that Dennis Hopper thing and came up with a title called true romance. Sorry, I never saw that movie but I think I’ll check it out.

      • lena80 says:

        At this point you are just being willfully ignorant and making things up along the way. You still think it’s appropriate to go around saying what someone is or isn’t like you have some authority to do so. Good luck with that ignorant ambition.

        And what exactly is a “straight out black woman”!? WTF is wrong with you?? If you know black people aren’t “indigenousness” to America and Zoe has Dominican and Puerto Rican roots which are ETHNIC GROUPS and she says that she black/afro-latina woman than explain to me HOW IS SHE NOT A BLACK WOMAN!?? On second thought, never mind..by your self appointed standards, she’s not a “straight up black woman” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

        Furthermore, what history lesson did I give about Dominicans? I specifically stated the African Diaspora and it’s effect on Caribbean Islands..so where did I contradict myself? I said people, (YOU), should not tell other people, (ZOE), what they are when they HAVE STATED, (QUOTES EXISTS, Google is your friend), what they are JUST LIKE people should not tell those Dominicans in those NY bodegas (that you mentioned as your source for evidence) that they are BLACK because obviously everyone DOESN’T SELF PROCLAIM or IDENTIFY WITH a particular RACE because of the African Diaspora, and if you new what that was you should know that includes the mixture of the different races and ethnic groups of people in the Caribbean at that time and its effect on self identification (I didn’t think that needed to be typed out for you since you said you know all about it, but you clearly do not). And I could care less about gossip when there are REAL QUOTES from REAL interviews floating around the net for people to see in regards to what Zoe identifies as.

        At this point have fun wallowing in your ignorance and your self appointed race delegation stamping that you can’t shake. I can clearly tell from this exhaustive discussion that you don’t know what the differences are between race and ethnicity when you make statements like “Zoe isn’t black she’s PR and Dominican.” “she isn’t a straight up black woman”. The more you type the more you make yourself look foolish on the subject matter. And FYI for future reference here’s a little gem for you. Afro-Latino from wikipedia ” Normally Afro Latin Americans are called “black” (in Spanish negro or, in the Caribbean, prieto, in Portuguese negro or preto). More commonly, when referring to cultural aspects of African origin within specific countries of Latin America, terms carry an Afro- prefix followed by the relevant nationality. Notable examples include Afro-Cuban (Spanish:Afro Cubano)[21] and Afro-Brazilian;[22] however, usage varies considerably from nation to nation.” What more evidence do you need that people can BE BOTH and identify as such?

      • V4Real says:

        Lena, Lena, Lena, if I am being ignorant then you are an ignoramous. Don’t twist my words to give them a different meaning from what I said to suit your purpose. I never said that people tell Domincans in bodegas that they are Black; I said try walking into a bodega and call them Black.

        As I stated much earlier in this thread I studied the African Diaspora and conduted research on the subject matter of Hispanics and how they view their ethnic make-up. I never said that Domincans from Bodegas were my source of evidence so it’s very ignorant of you to claim that I did. My research included publish articles from the Library, info form my Second Generation Immigrant Class as well as interviews from various Hispanic groups and Hispanic friends of mine. Through this I learned that a large percentage of Hispanics/Latinos don’t like to be labled as Black nor White. They just consider themselves an ethnic group or a nationality. They have the right to do that. That’s why I said Zoe isn’t Black. So you’re basically mad at me because I said Zoe isn’t a race but an ethnicity. I also know about classism and how some groups feel superior over another but this is not what we are debating.

        Didn’t the African Diaspora come about because slaves were taking from Africa and moved to all parts of the world? If I am correct in saying that then throw a rock in any direction and you are going to find Hispanics with African Ancestry.
        Model Adriann Lima is of mix ethnicity including African but she don’t go around saying she’s a Black woman.

        BTW I know the Spanish terms for Black, you didn’t have to wiki it for me.

        WTF I meant by Zoe not being a true Black woman is exactly what I said. She is Black Hispanic of Latin origin. I also said just because you have BLACK ANCESTRY DON’T MAKE YOU BLACK. Yes I repeated myself to make it clear and I can scream as well. I also said I know being Black does not equate to being African American and issued a rebuttal saying that Zoe can self-identify however she wants. I admitt that I raced her and assumed she was Black or mixed when I first heard of her but when I found out her heritage I said oh she’s Hispanic. Big freaking deal because I said she is Black Hispanic, she is. Yes I contradicted myself when I said she can identify however she chooses but it don’t mean I have to agree with her calling herself Black and only Black. I’m sticking with Black Hispanic, deal with it. Why do YOU even give a shit about what I said about Zoe? I still feel that she is only talking about her phenotype when she says she’s a Black Woman.

        The main reason we are discussing this is because Zoe ability to play Nina was question not because of her acting ability but because a lot of people see her as Afro-Latina and not Black. Therefore they are questioning her abilitity to emulate such a historical figure. If Zoe was Black and not of Hispanic heritage, there wouldn’t be too much talk about it. BTW there are rumors on the internet that says Zoe only plays the black card to get roles. She was also criticize by the public for having the nerves to criticize magazines for not using dark skin on the cover of magazines but yet she don’t use dark men as her love interest in her movies. She mainly have White love interest. So don’t accuse me of making up rumors, they are on the net and not hard to find. The rumors are also out there that she do not date Black men. But like I said that’s her prefernce. So stop freaking defending Zoe just to make a point to me.

        There are people that say Halle, Jennifer Beals and Mariah Carey aren’t Black but biracial. I don’t get mad at them or call them ignorant because that’s how they feel. They are right, they are biracial. Society label them as Black because of that one drop rule and like I stated earlier the one drop rule was made Law but I don’t agree with that Law. I mention Halle playing the role of Queen because she is in society’s eyes half black/half white, therfore I was talking about race and not her ethnicity. With Zoe I said she’s not a race but an ethnicity.

        To say you don’t care about gossip, STOP LYING honey because if you didn’t you wouldn’t be on this site.
        You voice your opinions about various celebrities on this site just like everybody else, regardless if it’s something they were rumored to have said or something that we actually heard them say or said in written interviews. So stop saying you don’t pay attention to gossip.

        It’s just so damn funny that you let me get under your skin the way I did just because I called an actress who you don’t even know personally, not Black.

      • V4Real says:

        Oh and Lena; I’ll say this again because I might have posted in the wrong spot.I don’t see you jumping down Juicy Lucy throat about the comment she made in comment 55. Apparenlty she heard the same rumors about Zoe. So perhaps Zoe is playing you; so deal with that.

      • lena80 says:

        There must be something wrong with you that you can’t keep up with what you say. You said Zoe isn’t Black she’s PR and Dominican. Now all of sudden you are saying she’s Black Hispanic but repeated the same BS of Zoe not being “a real black” woman??? Hispanics are an ethnic group, black is a race. If a White person can be German and another white person can be English, what does that mean??? They are White German, White English, German and English being the ethnic groups and white being the racial group. Get it now??? And if you already knew that, then why do you insist on saying a “real black woman”? That’s nothing more than your narrow vision of what you think “black” is instead of what it factually is. You are beyond ignorant on this issue, and if truly did all of that research that you claim that you did then you would have never have said she’s not black or not “real black woman”! It’s Sociology 101 for Gods Sake.

        As far as gossip goes, you mentioned some other poster gossip about Zoe and I read it, and they had no quotes and I said I’m not worried about that gossip because, ONE, it doesn’t relate to our conversation, and TWO, there are actual quotes from Zoe in interviews floating around on the net in reference to what she identifies as, yes/no??? Are WE (as in you and I) not talking about what you initially said how she isn’t black she’s PR and Dominican??? That would be a yes. Stay focused please. I never mentioned anything about her personality/character other than she has said dumb sh** on a regular basis. I’m not worried about the other comments about the unrelated gossip because that is not the BASE OF OUR CONVERSATION. So as far as her playing me, how so? Maybe if you could stay on the topic of OUR conversation you wouldn’t have to resort to other people’s posts that aren’t directly related to what you and I are discussing. And I even told you in a previous post that I couldn’t find anything in relation to other poster’s gossip comment about Zoe. reading is fundamental. So trying keeping up with the adult conversation and refrain from bringing other people’s comments into OUR discussion, which is about you not knowing that Black is race and Dominican and PR are ethnics groups and Black/Afro-Latino are used interchangeably. Really, what is wrong with you?

        If you really do know anything about conducting statistical research, you would know that first rule of thumb is that you can’t apply your findings of the subjects you questioned outside of your immediate population range. And if you know Wiki exists try reading it. “Since 1980, the Census Bureau has asked U.S. residents to classify their race separately from their Hispanic or Latino origin, if any. In 2010, 29.6% of Dominican Americans responded that they were white, while 12.9% considered themselves black. A plurality of 57.5% chose the category ‘Other race’.[7] The prevalence of the ‘other race’ category probably reflects the large number of people who identify as mixed African and European ancestry in the Dominican Republic, where 73% of the population identified as being of mixed African and European descent, commonly known as Mulatto.[8] Genetically, most are multiracial, however, having also Taíno Native American ancestry.[9]”

        So how exactly does your narrow populated research that you conducted in your area at the time, apply to the entire group of people? Yeah it doesn’t. Statistics 101. I think you skipped class that day. And FYI, since we are sharing background information now, you are talking to someone who previously worked for Census Bureau in Philadelphia region, but feel free and go ahead and use your little research as a fall back when I repeatedly call you out on truly not knowing anything about the African Diaspora and its effect on self identification in the Caribbean. It’s actually endearing in a way that you use your small research at college, with friends, etc.. as full knowledge on the subject matter with someone who worked in a branch office of the census bureau (which isn’t even 100% accurate but is way closer to accuracy than you’ll ever be), has a BA Sociology, doubled minored in statistics and psychology and has a MA in Criminal Justice and if I’m lucky after I finish my PhD will be hired to teach in a Social Science in a local university. So what’s your educated take on your basis for “a real black” woman again? Oh yeah, ignorance. The debate about her playing Nina Simone is colorism. And that’s the problem that people are having with the movie because hollywood once again chose a black woman who historically fits their ideal standard of what black woman should look like in their movies, which by the way is in direct conflict with what Nina Simone (I guess she physically
        would be your example of a “real black” woman right?) openly discussed and fought against her whole life. Feel free to come back and post and spew more ignorance on what you think “a real black woman” is.

        Oh and FYI, (this is in no relation to our previous conversation), let me make this abundantly clear to you since you have trouble comprehending, Zoe Saldana is a jack a**, I DO NOT CARE FOR HER PERSONALITY, or co-sign with the stupid sh** that spews out of her mouth, for example, this little gem she retweeted “omg I just got the petition for someone “blacker” than @zoesaldana to play Nina Simone.. Reverse racism at its best” OR “why the f— would I sit down and talk about how hard it is for Black women in Hollywood when there’s a Black president in my country?” See how I provide direct quotes?

  3. Amelia says:

    Just … Ugh.
    I’m going to go listen to Sinnerman in a dark room with a cup of tea.
    Zoe has neither the looks nor the acting chops to pull this off and someone needs to court martial whoever cast this film.

    • Naye in VA says:

      I care less about her facial features than i do the fact that they actually made her skin darker. Has this been done with other black characters playing non-fictional parts? And +1 on the acting skills, i think Zoe Saldana sucks, shes just an easy pick for a hot skinny black girl. Lets wait to hear the dubbed track.

      • andy says:

        Forrest Whitaker’s face was darkened for his role as Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” He won an Oscar for the role.

      • T.C. says:

        True Forrest Whitaker’s face was darkened to play a real person in The Last King of Scotland. No one accused him of being in Blackface. Guess you have to be American to get away with it. Can’t believe Zoe is being accused of not being Black because she wasn’t born in the U.S. So much ignorance.

      • dooliloo says:

        Because not only Forrest kinda looks like the dictator dude but also he’s a terrific actor are two good reasons enough. So the darker make up on him wouldn’t be an issue per se.

        Denzel Washington, to me he didn’t exactly look like Malcolm X but his charisma and portrayal of him to almost perfection was eerie, I didn’t see Denzel, I saw Malcolm X only. Denzel is charismatic and terrific actor.

        Angelina Jolie looked nothing like Mariane Pearl, hell Thandie Newton would’ve looked good for the part and she’s a good actress, but I guess Jolie humanitarian work has an impact on her personally, that and being friends wirh Mrs Pearl so it was a bit like she’s entitled to it.. Oh well..

        Anyway… Back to the matter!. To me it’s about charisma and good acting combined, which Zoe lack of in my opinion only, not that it speaks for others. To me it’s not about her being Hispanic, as long as she can act and embody and personify a character as an actress, but to me I don’t see it, or at least not yet. So perhaps she’s taking it as a challenge despite the criticism (I included criticize her being cast for the part). She’s getting parts because she’s pretty and she’s new it girl popular actress since Avatar, and Hollyweird is just thick minded and won’t take risks at hiring other African-American actresses qualified to portray Nina Simone, they only play their safe and popular actor/actresses cards.

      • V4Real says:

        @Andy & TC, no one said Zoe was not Black because she is not American, let’s not turn this into something it is not. That’s ridicolous. Come on Black people are born all over the world. Has anyone said that Rihanna and Naomi Campbell is not Black because they are from Barbados and England. It doesn’t have anything to do with where she is from, it has to do with what the majority of a particular goup consider themselves and most, not all, Domicans and Puerto Ricans don’t consider themselves Black. It’s fine if that’s what Zoe considers herself. She has the right to do that, just like Jennifer Beals had the right to consider herself White and Mariah and Halle identifies as being Black.
        To compare Forest Whitaker to Zoe; come on!

      • LAK says:

        @Dooliloo – i have a genuine question with regards perception of talent. Did anyone know whether Jamie Fox was the right person to play Ray Charles BEFORE the film came out??

        He was better known as comedian up to that point, wasn’t he?

        personally, i think let’s all wait until this film comes out, then bitch if she falls short. It’s a huge risk for both the producers and Zoe.

      • dooliloo says:

        @ LAK Jamie Foxx was already known for playing the piano and singing (he wanted to be a singer before then) it was enhanced when he did portrayed Ray Charles. But overall yes even as a funny man Jamie Foxx had presence, he can act, and he was very well known in Black entertainment and had his own show etc. It’s not like they cast Tyrese for Ray Charles part? Only that well yes Foxx ego is bigger than anything else nowadays since his Oscar…

        To me I believe plenty of other actresses could have played the part and I don’t mean necessarily well known but bloody talented and more charisma and to me that counts for something, and I still believe that Hollywood plays the safe/popularity card. I followed her career since then and I don’t find her that good for an actress, she’s pretty and likeable and popular. Yet to me it isn’t enough to say she’s right for the part. So by the time she proves everyone wrong with her acting abilities to portray Nina Simone, I have the preconceived right to be very much sceptical and express it.

        On another note, race related, at last year Oscar campaign Viola Davis said that for a woman of her colour and let alone her age it’s difficult to get roles, she was about to make an interesting point with Halle Berry but Charlize Theron completely interrupted her… *sigh*

      • LAK says:

        @Dooliloo – here is my 2cents if we are going to nominate alternative cast based on physical match.

        Marianne Jean-Baptiste. She was in SECRETS AND LIES and WITHOUT A TRACE.

        Here is her IMBD page and picture.


    • bns says:

      I agree. And my irrational disdain for Zoe just became rational.

    • guest says:

      Every one has a good point. There are Dominicans and Puerto Ricans specifically in NYC that rather be called “Dark” as oppose to Black. I hear it mostly from those two Islands. However, Black Cubans “Afro-Cubans” are very proud of their African heritage and still follow many African traditions. I’ve seen many documentaries on Afro Cubans still on the Island (50% of the Island is Afro-Cuban) and I’m so amazed at how they’ve continued the traditions (food, dance and teachings)of their African ancestors. Most People don’t know that Rita Marley was born in Cuba and her parents migrated to Jamaica when she was a child.
      Getting back to Zoe, she identifies herself as Black. So what if she’s medium, or dark complexioned. HW is all about $$ and they probably look at Zoe as the woman who would most likely bring people to the theaters
      or maybe she was the best candidate out of all the Black actresses that auditioned. Mary J Blige had the role first; so something happened.
      I also remember when the Latino community were in an uproar when Vanessa Williams was cast as a Latino dancer in some movie years ago.

  4. cucumber says:

    She’s too pretty as nina simone

    • Lukie says:

      What exactly are you sayng?
      Are you sayng Nina Simone was not pretty b/c I found her rather beautiful and ahead of her time…

  5. Kesha says:

    If there is rationale for hiring Zoe, there is rationale for hiring any other race or even a man so long as the audition went well..Why not right? They can ALL just play dress up and use prothestics, can they not?! Zoe should not have been cast, she does not fit at all. But I guess Zoe is the look producers would like to present to appeal to mass audiences during interviews/promotion, rather than a Simone lookalike…

  6. virginia5 says:

    so they have a black person(I think she is mixed?) doing a blackface to portray and African American….only in hollywood.

    • Really? says:

      There is a huge difference between “doing a black face,” and using theatrical makeup to enhance a character.

      Forrest Whitaker was in character for Idi Amin, which required makeup. Why should it be any different for Zoe?

      What about when a younger person plays an older character? Why aren’t we playing the ageist card by saying that they should have hired an old person for the job?

      What about when Diana Ross played Billie Holiday? Diana was a beautiful diva, and if you’re gonng continue to judge things on an empirical level (like racism does) then we have to say that Diana scored higher on the beauty scales than our Blues Goddess Billie did…Billie had others things going on than her looks…nothing against Diana…but Billie was no diva.

      Hollywood does what it does, and has been doing it for a long time now, and will continue to do so. I do not see any sort of “black face” revival coming into place here.

      Zoe got herself the gig, and hopefully she will play it well and do our beloved Nina some justice. It will be hard. Nina is a legend. I wish Zoe good luck with this role. She’s got her work cut out for her.

  7. tabby says:

    The fact that Hollywood wouldn’t find a dark skin actress instead they find Zoe to make her appear darker wow, that’s just crazy.

  8. L says:

    Nina Simone is a goddess. Classically trained, cited Bach as her musical hero, amazing songwriter, amazing everything. And yes, she was told many times that she wasn’t ‘pretty’ enough and to dark skinned.

    I mean, watch this video and tell me that Zoe has the look and the feel of this woman. You can’t just slap dark foundation on someone and say ‘boom! Nina Simone’ Esp a mediocre actress like Zoe.

    • L says:

      And now I’m just watching Nina Simone videos. This casting and the whole movie is just a travesty.

  9. Kim says:

    They could have cast India Arie she played Nina in a TV show and looks like her
    This is an outrage

    • km says:


    • Bubbling says:

      India Arie! man, that’s the answer! I was wondering who could pull it of looks wise, non of the current black actresses doesn’t quite have it,tho Mary J. isn’t too bad of a choice…

    • MST says:

      I agree. She would have been perfect. And she has the same type of soulful, gorgeous alto that Nina had. A voice that reminds me of warm honey.

      Lauren Hill would have been good too, but since she might be in jail soon for tax evasion, I don’t think she’s available right now.

      That makeup job is awful, it isn’t even skillfully applied. It looks uneven. And Nina was a buxom woman, with full hips, a butt, and breats. I have nothing against Zoe, but she has none of the above.

      Under no circumstances will I see this movie. Poor Nina must not only be rolling in her grave, she has probably reached the earth’s core by now!

  10. dooliloo says:

    Ha! I wrote it on Kidman topic.

    Ugh of ugh ugh!!! Apparently Zoe is the only available black actress in Hollywood. What a shame! Because she’s the “it” popular girl of the moment (black as she’s afro-hispanic) and starred in hugely box office success Avatar… A proper miscast. There are plenty of intelligent, strong and dark-skinned actresses that could’ve pulled the role but only in Hollyweird, only in Hollyweird… *facepalm*

    To say that Nina Simone family didn’t exactly agree to the project…

  11. Chicagogurl17 says:

    If they were going to go to all this trouble, why not hire someone who can sing or is a wonderful actress? Jill scott. Viola Davis or Kelly Rowland. Am at a loss for how they could pick so untalented and still need to do so much work.

  12. QQ says:

    Did every other appropriate better acting Black Actress was in an acting hiatus/vacation from earth?!?! I mean this is going to be an entire ass Blackface ( yes I ran a poll around with my friends and thats what it was called, That and horrific!) Tragedy

    Nina was a colorful interesting talented strong ass woman, who exhalted and loved her own looks and esthetics at a time when someone that woulda look like Zoe (richt Irony!) woulda been the preferred look

    Ugh this makes me ranty, let me go

    • MaiGirl says:

      Agree, agree, agree! I liked Zoe just fine in her lighter roles (ha! lighter!), but she is not a good actress. I honestly think less of her now for even taking the role. It’s one thing for the clueless effing producers to cast her, but what does it say about her that she took the role?

  13. Reece says:

    It’s like a 340 (not quite a 360) back to black minstrels.
    I don’t know how to react to that.
    Other than I most likely won’t be watching this.

    • Really? says:

      There is a huge difference between “doing a black face,” and using theatrical makeup to enhance a character.

      Forrest Whitaker was in character for Idi Amin, which required makeup. Why should it be any different for Zoe?

      What about when a younger person plays an older character? Why aren’t we playing the ageist card by saying that they should have hired an old person for the job?

      What about when Diana Ross played Billie Holiday? Diana was a beautiful diva, and if you’re gonng continue to judge things on an empirical level (like racism does) then we have to say that Diana scored higher on the beauty scales than our Blues Goddess Billie did…Billie had others things going on than her looks…nothing against Diana…but Billie was no diva.

      Hollywood does what it does, and has been doing it for a long time now, and will continue to do so. I do not see any sort of “black face mistral” revival coming into place here.

      Zoe got herself the gig, and hopefully she will play it well and do our beloved Nina some justice. It will be hard. Nina is a legend. I wish Zoe good luck with this role. She’s got her work cut out for her.

  14. Nan209 says:

    The first time I heard Nina I fell insistently in love. I managed to get every recording she’s done that I could actually find. I was obsessed with her music. I’d heard nothing like her. I was only 20 when I first heard her but I feel like as I get older when I hear one of her tunes I’m hearing a different Nina. As I’ve changed so have my ears for Nina.

    ETA: I don’t know how I feel about a bio-pic that will potentially water down a person who was so strong, powerful, and unique. I don’t dislike Zoe I just can’t imagine that she’ll give the kind guts the role needs.

  15. SusieQ2 says:

    It’s obvious that the producers of this movie care more about the box-office return than doing justice to Nina Simone.

  16. BlackMamba says:

    Ridiculous! There are tons of actresses that would have been closer to Nina’s look than Zoe and instead they picked her and put this horrible makeup on her. She looks like she has mud on her face. Why not Viola Davis? I don’t get this choice. Ugh.

  17. Shelley says:

    Why must everything be about race or ethnicity because people of colour are involved??
    Why was there no hoohaa when Charlize and Nicole were made ugly for their roles using prosthetics? One could argue that why werent naturally ugly good actresses used instead?

    • QQ says:

      Is not “race and ethnicity” i think is because Nina is Iconic and distinctive and HUGE to Black culture and Civil rights and Music and if they were in dire need of making this movie (without her family’s blessing, input or anything) they coulda at LEAST pick someone with a Passing resemblance to Simone, Moreover Zoe Saldana is NOT some Oscar laureate or broadway theater star This is Literally the girl that plays “Skinny Girlfriend of Lead” in just about every movie she isnt shooting em up

      • JH says:

        Well put @QQ!
        But you know, Zoe might surprise everyone. I know I’m being optimistic, but you know she must be taking this role very seriously.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        PERFECTLY put, QQ.
        I think the prevailing offense & outrage is more about Zoe being a mediocre actress (and I think I’m being generous here) when there’s a virtual plethora of amazing black actresses that would have been better-suited for the role. Save Zoe for the Lifetime version.

      • QQ says:

        Not even General Hate on Zoe JH, she isnt a TERRIBLE actress but this is so offensive and attrocious to me and In Hispanic FFS!! ( the blackface the shitty prosthetics, How much more of a fuller woman Nina was, Shit, the level of importance of the lady!! This isnt the time or the piece to Hatchet Job-it a la Lohan as Liz Taylor!, Considering how very few important films are made by/for with POC as leads )

        Then Bouncing a bit off of what Original Kitten is saying also, You know who Zoe oughta have endeavored herself to play?! La lupe, a Black latina Icon of Music ( if she is so thirsty for a biopic) Who she happens to be a dead ringer for and shares cultural heritage with as well


      • L says:

        YES. La Lupe would have been a great role for her.

      • Chris says:

        The problem with Zaldaña playing La Lupe is that she too was a very strong and passionate woman.

        I’m a huge La Lupe fan, she was crazy, beautiful, tortured and larger than life. I’ve not seen anything from Zaldaña that would make me think she has the acting chops for these kinds of characters.

    • V4Real says:

      @Shelley That’s because ugliness comes in all races.

      Plus why insult someone by saying hey you are ugly enough to play this role.

      • ViktoryGin says:

        It’s not a matter of being “ugly”. It’s a matter of being physically appropriate.

    • Marty says:

      Please take your white privilege somewhere else. We have no use for it here.

    • WaywardGirl says:

      Because unlike Zoe they actually looked the part. If you compare Nina and Zoe’s features they don’t even come close to each other. It’s like a slap in the face from Hollywood.

    • L says:

      1) Because they had GOOD prosthetics and makeup. They were extremely well done by true artists. Not a poorly done nose, and foundation that looks like mud.

      2) If they had gotten a black/latina woman to play Virginia Wolfe or Aileen Wuornos there would have been a equal uproar.

      3) For those roles they were looking for people who could act the part AND could pull off the look. Zoe does not do either of these things
      And as 4Real said-ugliness comes in all races. That’s not what the uproar is about.

    • lena80 says:

      Please go look up the term colorism and I think your question will be answered for you. And if that doesn’t help, listen to this song by Nina Simone.


      The issue of skin color is a big focus in the lyrics of “Four Women.” She presents four different black women of four different skin tones. When this song was written at the height of the civil rights movement I think she thought that this was the mindset of most black women in America at the time, their complexions, their hair…straight, kinky, natural, and what other women thought of them and the history behind it…slavery. Nina Simone was very outspoken about colorism, racism, prejudices, social injustices, etc.. So in this day in age to see an afro latina that white hollywood hired simply because they didn’t want to be out of their comfort zone of what they think black beauty is, is insulting to many people because there are black actresses that look the part as well as having the talent, like Adepero Oduye as others have pointed out.

  18. Just Me says:

    Her daughter wanted Kimberly Elise to play her. Have to say, that’s an excellent choice. Excellent actress, and I think Kimberly probably looks more like her than most mentioned.

  19. carrie says:

    give her a chance!

  20. Orangeslice says:

    This is no differently than when they used to make Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge wear make up to lighten their already light skin for movies to appear acceptable in early Hollywood. When I saw the first pictures my first reaction was annoyance and anger, because I know there are plenty of actresses out there who could have done this without resorting to this mess. They obviously weren’t looking for someone to sing, but they could have a least found someone closer to her look and could have acted the part.

    I agree it does look like she has mud on her face, I don’t think that’s the desired effect they are going for.

    • lena80 says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more! She would have been perfect the part, and no offense to Zoe, but I do not think she has the acting chops to pull off Nina Simone.

    • Lisa says:

      YES YES YES. I couldn’t think of her name for the life of me. I was shocked when I saw that she didn’t get it.

  21. mememe says:

    Oh she’s about to rock this role!

  22. mk yarwood says:

    What were they thinking? Who has a more vested interest in this project: white hipsters, or black women? Howcome Hollyweird has to pour effing whitewash all over everything? Can’t they make a movie that’s true to life, with a woman that can sing AND looks the part? Yes, they can. But gambling on a ‘nobody’ would alienate the people they want to puff it up. Like The Help. It makes me queasy how many conservative white women gushed over that book/movie. Makes me want to send them all a shit pie.

  23. ashley says:

    So Adepero Oduye was just to busy right? And i’m sorry but blackface is blackface.

  24. G says:

    Must be a shortage of incredible Black actresses. Yeah I got nothin…this is insulting.

  25. Francey says:

    So insulting poor Nina Simone- I am so sick of white Hollywood telling us black women overtly that we are not good enough- not worthy- not pretty- and that our stories are not worth telling. Even when we’re telling a story of a dark skinned black woman- now how many times does that happen- we have to get an ‘acceptable black’ to play the lead. This is not about feigning ignorance about the realities of the world we live in and hollywoods toxic messages. Zoe Saldana looks NOTHING like NIna Simone and yet she gets the part. please park your white privilege at the door before you even begin to defend that choice. The day Viola Davis plays Eva Peron or a latina then I will accept this in the meantime BOYCOTT

    • Kitty says:

      Well said. There are plenty of black actresses that could have played the role who look more like Simone. I won’t be seeing the movie.

  26. Kitty says:

    I am not going to see this movie, either, but I hope people do realize that there are black Hispanics from many places. Americans have such a limited view of race sometimes that it is almost offensive. And I am not referring to anyone here in particular. This is just a general point.

    That being said I don’t agree with her in that role, just like I hated when Angelina Jolie got darkened and wore a wig for her role in a Mighty Heart. There are better actresses of all nationalities that could have worked better in those roles, for Jolie and certainly now for Zoe. I hold no ill will for either of them, but as someone already mentioned, it is kind of offensive and lazy…and just because Hollywood has been doing such things for a long time doesn’t make it acceptable (then or now).

    • Kim says:

      The difference is Marianne Pearl requested Jolie play her.Nina’s family doesn’t approve of the script or cast.I would have less of an issue if the makeup was better.It looks. budget in pic. Meryle looks nothing like Thatcher but the makeup transformed her.I will wait and see

      • lena80 says:

        I don’t know why people default to the argument of Marianne Pearl requesting AJ for the part. It’s a scapegoat and it was never appropriate and AJ should have been decent enough to turn down the role just like Zoe should have done with this project. Hollywood needs to reevaluate itself if they have to resort to blackening their actors up to play biographical parts when there are plenty of people who have the talent as well as the resemblance to play the part.

    • Kim says:

      Hollywood is about money Thandie as the lead wouldn’t haven’t gotten the financing maybe Halle.The bottom line. is Marianne wanted Jolie. In this case Nina is icon so people are more passionate. Nobody knew who Marianne was and she doesn’t. identify as Black.

      • lena80 says:

        No one said anything about Thandie playing the part and I don’t care if Marianne wanted AJ to play her in the movie. Her mindset as well as AJ and Hollywood is shameful, disgusting, and sh*tty, when it comes to people of color trying to work in Hollywood. There have been plenty of films with “no name” actors staring as the lead that receive critical acclaim if they give a good performance. The fact that you, hollywood, AJ, Marianne, etc. think that it is appropriate in this day and age to blacken up their actors when there are plenty people of color out there that can do the job just as well if not better is why the cycle of colorism continues. Look it up if you don’t know what it is. Furthermore, Marianne if I’m not mistaken is quoted as saying that she is Afro Cuban and Dutch. The term Black applies to those descendants of African Diaspora, which includes slaves that were sent to Cuba, so she me may not be black in the sense that YOU think she is, but she has never denied her black/afro-cuban dutch ancestry. Black doesn’t mean just African American.

      • V4Real says:

        @ Lena I do agree with you about AJ playing the part of Marianne Pearl. Hollywood should have never cast Angie in that role; I don’t care how big of a star and good of an actress she is. I am a fan of Angie but she should have declined. Are there no good Black or bi-racial actresses that could have been cast. I know Hollywood was banking on box office success but come on. Even though she may not be that strong of an actress I could see Jennifer Beals in that role, she resembles her a bit. Maybe people would have seen the movie regardless just because of the story it was based on. I didn’t say Halle Berry because she can’t always be that go to Black actress that people call on; give others a chance.

  27. Cali says:

    Only in Hollywood you will see people of African heritage in Black face if their skin not dark enough – Sick! Zoe has lost all points with me for this foolishness!

  28. badrockandroll says:

    Are these actual stills from the film or are they pics that someone took while Saldana was walking on/to/from the set. The reason I’m asking is because her makeup could look overdone if it is not in the right light or speed.
    And because I am in a bit of a mood, I’ll just put all this out there … does Nicole Kidman look like Princess Grace? Does her blonde friend (can’t remember her name, sorry) look like Lady Diana? What about Cate Blanchett when she played Dylan, or Tilda when she played Orlando (or Crisp as Elizabeth l in the same movie for that matter?) Or Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder? Isn’t the audience supposed to do some work in imagining – otherwise, just photoshop the thing!

    I love Nina, and maybe a big bio of her would make younger girls aware of songs that actually mean something rather than trash talk set to a danceable beat. I have never seen Saldana in a movie, so I have no idea whether she can meet the challenge of a biography. I hope so, it’s a story worth telling well.

    • badrockandroll says:

      Today’s links indicate that Halle Berry is in talks to play Angela Davis. Halle (whom I despise while acknowledging her outer beauty) is only a few drops black (gad how I hate that phrase, and hearing her say it about 4 decades after I thought it was dead began my dislike of her.) Will she wear makeup and prosthetics? Does she ahve the chops for it?

    • LAK says:

      Don’t forget Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela with Terence stamp to play madiba himself.

      Many Africans are still up in arms about it. Winnie herself has objected very strongly to it especially as they made it without her consent [an unauthorised biopic if you will].

      As i say upthread, i think we should all wait and see the end result, then make a judgement.

      • Kimlee says:

        Don’t forget Etta James didn’t what Beyonce to play her ether.

      • badrockandroll says:

        I guess the watershed is Othello: Anthony Hopkins and Patrick Stewert have played Shakespeare’s Moor (whatever that is: arab? african?) in the past 20 years but the play was originally been produced with a white man playing othello and a white man/boy playing the heroine Desdemona.

      • LAK says:

        @Badrockandroll – The term ‘Moors’ is pretty broad. Early Europeans tended to use it in reference to all people with darker skin, irrespective of region of origin ie Arabs as well as Africans were described as Moors.

        As geological and cultural information increased, it came to refer specifically to Muslim Arabs usually in and from Northern Africa, Malta and Southern Spain, possibly further, but was still used as an umbrella term for dark skinned people.

  29. RobN says:

    Maybe we just need to get past this need we have for actors in biopics to actually look like the person they are playing. If somebody is worthy of a biopic, then there’s a pretty good chance that there is something special about them other than how they look; portray that and maybe we could stop worrying about make-up and prosthetics.

    • annie says:

      +1. I find the Zoe choice more inappropriate because she’s a bad actress than because she doesn’t look like Nina Simone.

  30. TheOriginalKitten says:

    I’m not sure about the application of a darker shade of makeup being the same as “blackface”. And when I say I’m not sure-I mean that literally. Is it?
    My initial instinct is to say that it’s not different than any other actor altering their appearance to suit a role but maybe I’m being naive/insensitive.

    That being said, the greatest tragedy is the snubbing of SO many talented actresses that would KILL in this role. Zoe just does NOT have the chops, period. Hollywood really sucks.

  31. Guest says:

    I am an admirer of Nina Simone; and am disappointed that Zoe was chosen to play her in a “biopic”. I am all for personal ambition; but she does not care for black civil rights so why try to impersonate someone so closely indentified with it.

    I found Nina Simone to be a complex, beautiful, sexy and talented performer.

    The black face is unfortunate; but skin tones can vary: for example Angela Basset was darker than Tina Turner but she was so good; she became Tina Turner in the movie. Zoe is no Angela Basset.

    The movie being made is based on several untruths about the singer’s life and that is the real sticking point. Many fans addresses this topic in a more eloquent way in the NY Times etc.

    The travesty is that Nina have to fight a narrow definition of beauty to be seen and heard despite her genius and now the same system is trying to erase/rewrite that history by using a token.

    Funny some things never change.Mississippi ……..

  32. Miss Kiki says:

    I dont’t think the issue is Zoe heritage, it’s her actual feautres. Nina Simone wasn’t considered beautiful in her age because of what the perception of beauty, especially the beauty (or lack of) of black woman was in that era. Her lips, her nose, her hair etc. I think that by casting someone with Zoe’s features it’s taking away from the things that made Simone so iconic. She never shied away from her ‘blackness’ e.g. wearing her afro out. So I feel that whilst with other biopics, a passing physical resemblance is usually enough with Nina her physical features were so much a part of her story that casting someone that doesn’t have those features takes away from the story.

    Also Zoe- pretty not a great actress

  33. Nicole says:

    She looks ridiculous and she isn’t that great of an actress. I think its really disrespectful to continue to do this film when Nina’s own daughter doesn’t approve.

  34. hillbillyinthecorner says:

    This goes into the catagory as
    Lindsay Lohan as Elizbeth Taylor
    Nicole Kiddman as Grace Kelly
    Micelle whathername as Marilyn Monroe
    Katie Holmes ad Jackie Kennedy

    You know the closes they came to getting it halfway right was Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash….I know “What” but I watch June as a young girl on tv when I was a child in Kentucky on the Porter Wagnor show and she had the look and the voice to carry it off…
    None of these woman above even came close to whom they are or were playing…and they are none believible….except Reese who did a dam good job….Another Hollywood version of history…all screwed up …
    Nina Simon was a example a a truly beautiful Natual black woman without the alterations almost every black actress in hollywood has done to fit the hollywood version …nose ..lips..hair…and lightning…where white girls go nose . lips ..hair and darkiening…LOL…all to fit the Hollywood old mans wet dream…
    that that includes the mix race girls who try to fit the same mode…all are Hollywood Barbie dolls…..

  35. I Choose Me says:

    I think Zoe was chosen because she’s the go to black woman of the moment. Her name is pretty recognizable now because of Avatar and Star Trek (though still not as recognizable as it should be which a separate topic all together) so there’s more of a chance (in Hollywood producers mind) that people will go see this movie. Agree that the makeup job does not look very well done and that there are lot of other black actresses who can act circles around Zoe that this role could have gone to but I’m not gonna cast any stones. Maybe, just maybe, Zoe can pull it off.

  36. djork says:

    Nina Simone was brilliant, complicated, angry. She endured the racism of our society in general, as well as that of the music industry and “show business”. Above all, she was a freaking genius. This stunt casting is an insult to Nina Simone and all Afro-centric women, especially underworked actresses who need no prosthetics or body makeup to play a Black woman.

  37. Fyofeelings says:

    I’m more worried about the acting. I would’ve chose Tarji she can sing ex. Hustle&flow and she can act ex. Benjamin Button. Zoe can’t act her way out of a cardboard box!

  38. Amy says:

    I’m not sure I understand the controversy here? White actors wear prosthetics all the time in movies to alter their appearance, not to mention they are always spray tanning/going to tanning salons to appear darker. Nobody is calling them out for that. Not to mention they are always dying their hair for movie roles. I just see this as more of the same thing.

    • lena80 says:

      @ Amy, look up the term colorism to see what the argument is about. This is something hollywood perpetuates over and over again with actors of color.

  39. Grace says:

    People are boycotting this movie all over the place and I’m glad for it. Zoe doesn’t have the acting ability to pull this off.

  40. Lindsey says:

    Hi Internet Users: Alicia Keys, India Ari, Kelly Rowland, while talented singers are not actresses (not good ones anyway) please for the love of god stop naming any random black singer who ‘could have’ been cast as Nina. Also, Zoe self-identifies as a black woman, yes she is also of latin descent. But hey, there are black people in Latin America too (shocker, I know).

    Also why are prosthetics/makeup such a big deal? Actors do this all the time. Not all actors cast as historical figures resemble these people at any rate. Also, why bitch about Zoe having to wear makeup and prosthetics and in the same breath mention women are shades lighter than Saldana?? Makes no sense.

    Finally, we can chalk this up to money. DUH. Whoever’s making this movie wanted a name attached to it. It’s a shame the family isn’t even involved with the film , which feels like more of a travesty than anything. And I do agree, the woman from Pariah (Adepero ?) would have been a much better choice.

    Also to add, I’m really only bothered by this choice because Zoe isn’t a strong actress and Nina was a strong woman.

    • V4Real says:

      I totally get what you are saying about the singers we listed as not being actresses but Kelly and Alicea have both been in a couple of movies. Maybe they are not strong actressses but didn’t you say the same about Zoe. I didn’t list them because they are singers, if that was true I would have said Beyonce. I listed them because they did dabble in acting and may fit the role better. Giving the experience perhaps they can become decent actors. Zoe has a lot of experience but still you say she is not that good. A lot of people are doing that actor/singer cross over thing. Not every actor started out as great but some of them learned how to be good the more roles they got.

  41. Nanz says:

    Learned a lot about heritage, self-identification, and the black experience today. Thanks for keeping it informative and lively fellow celebitches.

  42. ViktoryGin says:

    Okay, okay, okay…

    I respect that attempts of some who are inexperienced in dealing with American race relations to contribute to the conversation, but some of the ignorance that is being exhibited by the some has become offensive.

    I typically try not to alienated the ill-informed in discussion such as these through anger, but

    Trying to equalize this controversy as being tantamount to Nicole Kidman donning a proesthetic or Charlize Theron gaining twenty poounds in order to look like a busted, rode-hard Aileen Wuornos is offensive for the very fact that in the aformentioned examples there is no socio-historical subtext that accompanies thoses casting decisions. NONE. Those are stories that are autonymous and very personal in their own rights. They come with social stigmas and conflcits attach to them that involve an entire sector of people.

    Nina Simone was obviously a musician, but she also an activist who dealt directly with the segregation and inquality of the Civil Rights Movement, but also with the more pernicious influences of colorism/shadeism, attempting to find an identity and a sense of self-love in a blatant eurocentric society. This was part and parcel of who

  43. ViktoryGin says:

    Okay, okay, okay…

    I respect that attempts of some who are inexperienced in dealing with American race relations to contribute to the conversation, but some of the ignorance that is being exhibited by the some has become offensive.

    I typically try not to alienated the ill-informed in discussion as I always try to keep an open dialogue, but I just may have to this time.

    Trying to equalize this controversy as being tantamount to Nicole Kidman donning a proesthetic or Charlize Theron gaining twenty pounds in order to look like a busted, rode-hard Aileen Wuornos is offensive for the very fact that in the aformentioned examples there is no socio-historical subtext that accompanies those casting decisions. NONE. Those are stories that are autonymous and very personal in their own rights. They don’t come with social stigmas and conflicts attached to them that involve an entire sector of people.

    Nina Simone was obviously a musician, but she also an activist who not only directly dealt with segregation and inequality during the Civil Rights Movement, but also with the more pernicious influences of colorism/shadeism, attempting to find an identity and a sense of self-love in a blatantly eurocentric society. This was part and parcel of who Simone was and what she encountered with her entire life and career.

    Shadeism, though not unique to the US, is a an ever present insidious cancer that those who are dark skinned have to contend with. Being Black in US can run the gamut from Jennifer Beals (if she anctually self-idenifies as black) to Alek Wek (she’s not American but there are plenty black Americans who are equally as dark.) We as blacks notice even seemingly infinitesimal gradations of color. And one’s perceived attractiveness is assigned accordingly. (Obviously the lighter the more attractive.)

    What so offensive is not simply that they’ve hired a “lighter” skinned black actress to play a darker black woman. It’s that they hired a “lighter” actress to protray a dark woman who had to deal with flack her entire life for being a dark-skinned, wide-nosed, kinky-haired.

    Unless you are dark-skinned or an American minority or have keenly been made aware of how wretched, unattractice, unwanted you are I don’t expect for you understand how degrading and insulting this is.

    The producers might as well have sh*t on her grave. It probably would have been kinder.

    This is why I have a huge problem with white producers attempted to shoot black experiences sometimes, especially regarding women. More often than not they are unacquainted with its idiosyncrasies and add insult to injury with their willful ignorance.

    God. This just burns me up.

    • mst says:

      If Nina was alive today she would say “Hollywood G*ddamn!”

    • Trillion says:

      Thanks for your insight, V.G. I think your points were very well made and very necessary.

    • muppet_barbershop says:

      Thanks VG <3 I haven't Been There so i didn't want to touch it. But I have female friends who Are There who would agree.

  44. Paige says:

    Sorry but not feeling Zoe playing Nina.There are plenty talented black actresses who should play Nina. Hollywood once again sending the message that dark skin is not acceptable.

  45. pretty says:


    You are the most ignorant person i’ve ever seen.
    You just don’t have a slight clue about human races.

    You keep telling why people don’t call NOrth Italians “Black”.. sigh…
    See, North Africans that invaded Italia at that time.. They are CAUCASIANs. May i repeat? CAUCASIANs.

    There’s mainly 3 human races on this earth.
    Mongoloid, Negroid, Caucasoid.
    North Africans , Arabs, Europeans are all caucasians.
    And @V4Real you sound like you have some serious serious issues about yourself and being called “black”.
    It doesn’t freaking matter if you’re dominican or whatever.
    I BET YOU, most people in Latin American and have dark skin, they are negroid races. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • I'm going to Guam! says:

      Negroid, mongoloid….what is this, the 1800s?
      We don’t use those terms anymore because it’s hogwash.
      The human race is much more complex than that.

  46. muppet_barbershop says:

    I’m a Nina fan, mostly of her music, but long-term she did become an important cultural and civil-rights figure in my book.

    I hope to hell Viola turned the role down. If I find out she wasn’t offered it, I’m gonna punch a wall or something. She would have been so much better.

  47. holly daze says:

    No!!! im sorry but Zoe is not good enough of an actress to pull of this role–and she is not a singer either. What happened to Macy Gray (who has been compared to Nina Simone??) was she busy? is she too old–Im guessing not since she and Mary J Blige are close in age.
    I dont care about the logistics of Black, Afro-Latina, whatever…I would have just hoped they would have cast someone that could act well and/or sing like Nina because I want to feel like its Nina Simone (like Jamie Foxx with Ray Charles) even when I know its not.

  48. LucyOriginal says:

    Yes, it is a joke. No, she cannot pull it off.

  49. bk says:

    I would have LOVED to see Viola Davis nail this. I hate when Hollywood casts actresses who look nothing like the person they are playing. Skin tone alone doesn’t cut it (and for that matter, wrong skin tone). Angie never needed to play a Cuban-American, and Nicole Kidman doesn’t look like Grace Kelly.

  50. Aubra says:

    Just when it was solid that I could tolerate her…can’t stand her!

    Bradley, please hurry up and be done with this one!!!

    There is a much larger issue at hand here other than what she and you all consider yourselves. Zoe is wrong for this part MAINLY for the fact that alot of her ignorance (co-signing a terminology “reverse racism…ummm no such thing)the very ignorance Nina stood against, Nina’s family wasn’t consulted about this film, so to still take the role is just disrespectful and she’s just plain ignorant and thirsty sounding in alot of her interviews. She has no business representing Nina on film. Zoe KNOWS she’s wrong for this, but her thirst to be taken seriously and jockey for a Golden Globe and an Oscar is clouding what little good judgement she has. I swear she’s trying to get on her lover’s elevated level. This is nothing but hot buttered bullshit! No integrity at all whatsoever!

    India Irie would have been good for this part, but it’s still unauthorized…Kitty Kelly should make a cameo

  51. Jaye says:

    I will stop short of calling this outright racism – but I will call it ridiculous. We’ve seen actors go to lengths to portray roles – drastic weight loss/gain, change in hair color, what have you. To cast Zoe Saldana as the great Nina Simone is insensitive and completely disregards her struggles and further her pride as a beautiful African American woman. The make up does not even photograph in a believable way on Zoe, the nose prosthetic itself is not even accurate, her body type/shape/curves do not mirror the beauty of Nina Simone. Simply put, she is not an accurate PHYSICAL representation of a woman whose talent went far beyond that. I believe Zoe is talented, however I do and will have a difficult time accepting THIS. There are far too many incredibly talented African American actors who have similar features to Nina Simone – I am questioning the casting agents and further who all was sent the script, who auditioned, and what the process was that ended up with THIS. These photos look ridiculous. They upset me as a fan and as someone who can simply admire the beauty that Nina Simone possessed. I would, again, like to know how this happened – who else went up for the role and why didn’t they consult with the family to ensure accuracy of the film from the casting to the story line. Shame.

  52. Kat says:

    I can see both sides of this. My first thought was that if an actor is good enough it doesn’t matter if they look like the person that they are portraying. Some examples of this are Michelle Williams as Marilyn and Kenneth Branaugh as Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn, Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Reese Witherspoone as June Carter Cash, Philip Seymore Hoffman as Truman Capote, etc. I don’t like JLo’s acting usually but I thought she was really good as the much more beautiful (and Mexican, not Puerto Rican) Selena. As someone who loves movies and theatre, I was looking at it from the ‘acting as a craft’ POV.

    But I’m not black, and after reading some of the comments on this article I realize why it is a sensitive issue, and why this is so offensive to many people. It’s totally not the same as Nicole Kidman’s prosthetic nose as one particularly articulate commenter above said.

    Oh, one more thing…I know that AJ’s casting in ‘A Mighty Heart’ is in the same rather explosive race-related vein as this movie, but I hated to read the negative comments about Mariane Pearl, who is a hero of mine. She is from France, not America, and may not have the same hang-ups or sensitivities about race. She identifies as multi-racial – she’s afro-cuban/dutch. She married a white man and has a multi-racial child. I think she just felt a connection with AJ as a person and admired her acting, so why would she mind? If you are angry with Hollywood for its lack of diversity, I agree. If you want to blame Brad Pitt’s company Plan B, which made the film, fine. But MP is a brilliant, wise and very wordly woman – don’t make it seem like she was cool with a white movie star portraying her because she doesn’t care about black people.

    • lena80 says:

      I’m not placing the blame entirely on Marianne Pearl…as I did include AJ and Hollywood in my mini rant also. I think that in this day and age, there is no need to blacken up actors to play a part. It’s an insult to all of the people of color who are actors and who struggle with the BS Hollywood throws them on a regular basis. And I can’t excuse adults on feigning ignorance because they didn’t grow up in the US. Black people are all over the world as a result of the African Diaspora and someone like Marianne who has Afro-Cuban ancestry would or should know better in approving a white actress to play her in a role because they are buddies. And please don’t forget that AJ willingly sat in a chair and complied with being blackened up for the part as she was obviously comfortable with it.

  53. Juicy Lucy says:

    Apparently, Zoe wants to be black when it suits her. I have read articles where she has stated that she doesn’t consider herself black because her mother told her that she isn’t black. People have also posted articles where she states that she is black. She hates the black race and is know to snub people of color on movie sets. Now that she has been badly miscast in a disasterous biopic, she is once again proud to playing a classy black woman.

    Ms. Mortz is to blame for casting Zoe in the role. Apparently, she is the one who wants to make a name for herself as a director but in doing so, she has managed to pi$$ off Nina’s family and fans who want Nina’s legacy preserved. Zoe could have done the classy thing and turned down the role (Haley Barry was gracious enough to pass on playing Aretha Franklin as she knew she couldn’t do justice to the role). Zoe wants desperately to be seen as a mainstream actress but unfortunately, this isn’t the role that will make her mainstream. Zoe is probably hoping that her fauxmance with BC will make her appear more mainstream in the eyes of casting directors.

    IMO, Zoe is a mediocre actress who is best as part of an ensemble cast. She has proven that she can’t carry a film on her own-the the box office flop of Columbiana. I see nothing but harse criticism for both the film and Zoe’s performance once the film is released.

  54. Bergerina says:

    The basic problem is not one of race: It’s that many other actresses are better qualified to portray the amazing Nina Simone. Jennifer Hudson comes to mind first, and I know there are others, and others waiting to be discovered. Zoe Saldana doesn’t have the talent to be Nina Simone.

    • Juicy Lucy says:

      Taraji P. Hensen or Viola Davis would also have been good in the role of Nina. I strongly feel that if Ms Mortz was really interested in telling an acurate story about Nina, she could have cast an unknown in the role who bears a strong resemblence to Nina.

  55. blunt talker says:

    The problems with skin tones and facial features on Zoe compared to what Nina really looked like is of great concern to Nina’s fans. There are millions of Simone fans who recognize what is going on here. I guess Zoe’s statement about black actresses being too lazy to get acting roles like herself is true. This entire movie is disrespectful of Nina’s memory and family. To bypass Nina’s family and make a movie without any imput from Nina’s only daughter is evil and disgusting. Nina’s daughter and grandchildren will have to endure this mockery as well as future generations who will see this crap. Zoe has stated in past interviews her momma told her she was not black. Zoe’s mindset is not going to be Nina’s mindset. Zoe has stated with strongly identifies with the Latin culture which makes her ties to the black culture suspect. I am very disappointed that Ms. Saldana took this role and sidestepped Nina’s family in a crude manner. For someone who was in 2 blockbusters with sequels on the way should have some say in this biopic. I guess Zoe is still on the plantation doing the white master’s bidding. We don’t need a fashion show Zoe has done enough of those already. The black community needs to hold Zoe and others connected to this project accountable. Don’t let them get away with whitewashing Nina’s life.