Nina Simone’s estate has some excellent clapback for Zoe Saldana


People are still yelling about Zoe Saldana and the Nina Simone bio-pic, Nina. Just know… this was filmed back in 2012. Like, they’ve been sitting on this mess for FOUR YEARS. That’s how bad it was. That’s how bad it is. Because after the poster and trailer dropped yesterday, both “Nina Simone” and “Zoe Saldana” were trending on Twitter. Everyone has an opinion about Zoe’s “blackface” makeup to play Nina, and everyone thinks the trailer looked like a pile of garbage.

Personally, I’m happy with all the clap-back. Zoe should have never taken this part. And she should never have been such an a—hole about the justified criticisms of her acceptance of the role. Back in 2013, when Zoe was confronted with direct quotes from Nina’s displeased family, Zoe shrugged off those complaints, saying: “What keeps me focused and what kept me from getting stressed from being hurt by the comments is I’m doing it for my sisters, I’m doing it for my brothers, and I don’t care who tells me I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am, and I know what Nina Simone means to me.” Zoe also told a magazine a few years ago that she was the only actress out there who wasn’t “afraid” to play Nina. LOL, not really. Vulture even compiled a list of seven better casting choices for Nina – go here to see.

So, I tend to think Zoe had this coming. Is there enough blame to go around with the director, studio, makeup people, etc? Sure. But Zoe deserves a lot of blame too. Which is why I wasn’t mad when the people running the Nina Simone estate’s Twitter handle clapped back at Zoe.

The Nina Simone Estate’s Twitter has also re-tweeted some insulting tweets, and gone further:

Word. I’m enjoying this. I have to wonder… do you think this film should have just been left on the shelf and never released? I mean, obviously, it would have just been better to never make this movie at all, but once it was filmed, why didn’t anyone watch it and say, “You know what, we’re going to take the financial loss on this one. This film should never be released”?



Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet, WENN.

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177 Responses to “Nina Simone’s estate has some excellent clapback for Zoe Saldana”

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  1. kri says:

    Why WHY pick her?! I mean, I’m not a Zoe hater, but this role is very special. There is no justice for Nina in this film. None.

    • Alex says:

      What do you expect? There’s ONE black person working on this movie from behind the camera. ONE…I doubt they know how special Nina Simone is to the culture

      • mia girl says:

        I just posted this downthread but what is disappointing is that David Oyelowo was not only the co-lead but also an Executive Producer on the project (as per IMDB).

        He has been such a strong advocate for the issues that POC face in Hollywood and yet he was a part of this. It makes me sad.

      • kai says:

        Alex, wow, I wasn’t aware of that. It should be highlighted much more.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Good points Mia Girl

        A lot of actors get executive producer credits but it’s usually doesn’t come power or decision making abilities. I do think David Oyelowo is very attuned to POC issues but a lot of Black men don’t experience colorism to the degree women do. Chris Rock, Kevin Heart, Denzel, etc are the opposite of what skin tone is favored in Hollywood for Black women.

        Tall, dark and handsome literally is favored as sexy for men but women it’s fair skin, petite and soft spoken. There were statistics showing that Dark-skin men and fair Asian women are the viewed as the most desirable in societies. Since this issue affects African-American women and is not talked about in main stream media, I’m not surprised that David Oyelowo as a Brit with ancestors from Africa does not appreciate the impact colorism has on Black actresses.

        In fact I am glad this issue is being put finally in mainstream media instead of just whispered between Black folks. Sometimes you have to air out your family laundry for progress.

      • censored says:

        Davids involvements comes as no surprise to me many black men in Hwood only care about representation for BLACK MEN. He has made tone deaf remarks when he was promoting another Movie Red Tails that proves this
        Thier words , choices and actions show they really dont care about black women

      • Leah says:

        Oyelowo is not an african american, he may not be so up on how african americans see this. From what i am reading here a lot of people feel that its a problem that an afro-latino woman gets to play someone so integral to african american culture.Furthermore Zoe was probably presented as the most bankable choice in the eyes of the studios. Some times attaching someone who is considered bankable is what makes it possible to finance a movie.

      • taxi says:

        Oyelowo is from Nigeria. His wife is caucasian.

    • Wiffie says:

      It’s like making a movie about the struggles of womens rights, and the job of the strong leading suffragette is a man in drag.

      it’s dismissing the whole POINT of the message in the movie with the actual production of it.

      I wonder if Zoe just got excited, and thought maybe this was her “monster”. She thought this was her Oscar winner. Maybe I’m crazy but I feel bad for her because I think she was disillusioned and didn’t realize all the No.

    • Anne tommy says:

      Many posters on previous threads were arguing that people of Hispanic descent were POC, seemingly irrespective of their actual ethnic origin. Not so much, it seems to turn out…

  2. Erin says:

    Tip to all actors out there – if the part requires blackface, DONT DO IT.

    • frank says:

      Thank you . This would have been a good role for some other naturally dark skinned black actress.

      • Stef Leppard says:

        My first thought about this controversy was “Viola Davis.” I mean, maybe she was uninterested or unavailable but I bet she would have been a wonderful Nina.
        Plus…why did they have to darken Zoe’s skin? I get that Nina was darker skinned but I sort of feel like if you’re going with this casting, then own it!

      • Luxe says:

        I like Vulture’s list.

    • tealily says:

      That’s the part that gets me. My inclination is to feel tinges of sympathy for Zoe, because it IS a meaty part and I’m sure she was thinking of it in those terms. But the moment they brought out the darker makeup and the prosthetics, she should have put her foot down that she would not be doing that and would let her performance speak for itself. This is a terrible, terrible idea.

      • Stef Leppard says:

        Everyone involved should have said “If we are feeling the need to darken her skin, if that is SUCH an important part of the character, this is the wrong casting.” Sad.

    • Colette says:

      I think it would have been better if they didn’t darken her skin.Angela Bassett has portrayed many Black women who didn’t share her complexion.

      • imqrious2 says:

        Exactly! I can see the nose, to enhance to resemblance, but not really the skin color. So many actor use prosthetics (Nicole Kidman in “Hours” – didn’t she get the Oscar for that? Any actor that’s played “Cyrano de Bergerac”?). So either “own it” or step away.

    • Elyna says:

      Excellent rule for casting (shame common sense has to be patted in with a shovel) 😉

  3. Betti says:

    I kinda agree with u on that she had it coming, she’s set herself up for a fail with this project and her attitude about it. Did she think it was going to be like Ray and win her an Oscar? I think it should have been made but with a different creative team and a different lead actress. This looks just like a vanity project for Zoe who isn’t the best actress.

    And I’m with Nina’s family in that Viola Davis should have been cast. She has the same presence that Nina had.

    • JFresh says:

      I think what you said is true, but also I have to talk back to the critiques I’m seeing above, which reveal clouded thinking at some level. Who wouldn’t be tempted by such a challenging role if it was offered to them. Might not be smart thing to do but aren’t we all tempted at various points in life and end up doing things that maybe aren’t the wisest? Zoe is human, wants to prove something to herself.

      And as for the unhappy family/fans, one can always gather their own funding and create their own movie if it’s a subject they care abut so much.

      And finally Ms. Simone’s legend is clearly untouchable and can’t be disgraced by something like this, or anything at all most probably.

      • Betti says:

        Yes I do agree that Zoe saw this as an opportunity to prove herself as an actress and it was a role she wasn’t ever going to turn down, who wouldn’t really.

        I can imagine that at some point a movie will be made about her life and one that does her and her life/career justice.

      • JFresh says:

        Betti yes, at some point that movie will be made. The list of actresses NyMag compiled is a good place to start. I wonder if any of them will be good enough for the daughter tho!! Potential players might be scared off now due to the volatility here

  4. Grant says:

    Oh please. Because watching your mother’s memory be immortalized on film while words like “iconic” and “legendary” are bandied about to describe her is just SO PAINFUL. I get that Zoe Saldana probably isn’t the best choice but it’s not like they’re releasing a hatchet job that slanders Nina’s memory.

    • Josefina says:

      Nina’s status as a dark skinned, unatractive and poor black woman was one of the most influential points in the making of her music. This casting is just a slap on her face.

      • V4Real says:

        And the slap in the face is that they take a light skinned attractive Black-Latino woman and try to make her look dark skinned and unattractive. How about getting an actress that could probably identify with Nina. Someone who has been told that they are too dark, not attractive enough such as Viola Davis. She lived it. I bet Zoe has never been told she’s too dark or not attractive. Plus Zoe may identify as Black but her culture is different than Nina’s as well as Viola.

      • Crocuta says:

        Hollywood does this all the time, regardless of the race. “Ugly” means to take an attractive person, give them things like bad hairdo, bad make-up, bad skin, a retainer, glasses or unflattering clothes and there you go. Zoe got the part due to her celebrity status plus she’ll look good at promoting. Is anyone REALLY surprised by this? I mean, there’s nothing ugly about Saldana’s looks and you can bet HW wouldn’t want anyone who they would deem unattractive to take a major role. Too risky for business.
        (BTW, I think Nina Simone looked great too, but if she had issues with her appearance, so will HW.)

        And while I’d really love to say that I believe the viewers are above that sort of thing, that’s just not the case. On IMDB, people complain all the time why this “ugly” actress was chosen for this or that role; or try reading comments under British films where you’ll often read viewers complaining about all the actors being ugly (when in truth they are normal, not Hollywood-pretty people).

        What I’m trying to point out is that this is more than just a case of wrong skin colour and nose shape. It’s not even just race or gender. It’s about HW’s idea of beauty itself, not only on screen, but off screen, where the actors look like themselves – in interviews, magazines etc. That’s what sells the film.

      • Farhi says:

        ” I bet Zoe has never been told she’s too dark or not attractive. ”

        I wouldn’t be so sure. And even the most beautiful people are often insecure about their looks. Otherwise why so many of HW actors would resort to plastic surgery?

        And as Crocuta said, this is standard MO in Hollywood – take a beautiful person and “ugly them up” a little bit but in reality the actors pretty much always are more beautiful than the real people they are playing. It is because this is what public wants to see and pays for – beautiful people on screen. It is especially true in the US.

      • Bridget says:

        Honest question here. To start, I get the issue re: the skin color issue (not trying to be dismissive in any way, just saying I don’t need this aspect explained). But outside of that, do they really need to hire someone that’s lived the exact same truths as Nina? At what point does the acting begin? How often do we expect actors to not only portray their subject, but require that they have similar backgrounds, personality traits, etc?

      • V4Real says:

        What I mean is that Zoe will not be able to embody the soul and spirit of Nina. She’s not a good actress IMO and I don’t think she could fully capture the struggle of Nina and exaggerate those emotions. I really don’t think Zoe can relate to Nina at all. Throwing on some horribly done dark make-up is not going to transform her into Nina Simone.

      • Crocuta says:

        Personally, I prefer if they hire good actors that look as alike to the person as possible. I don’t care about the actor’s background, ethnicity, nationality or life-experience in the same field. That’s what acting is for.

        In this case, I do believe that if they had to go with Zoe (for reasons I mentioned above), they could have just left her natural colour. Painting her dark is just such a weird thing to do in 2016. If the film will actually address her skin tone (as it was an issue with Simone, it should, but it doesn’t mean it will, perhaps they’ll just cheapen the problem and go with “not white” rhetoric), then they should have hired a different actress.

      • Bridget says:

        Folks around here love to use the Olivier quote “it’s called acting” – where does the line go? Do we have to expect all actors portraying real people to have had similar experiences, upbringings, political leanings? At what point are people being unreasonable in their expectations? Saldana was hired to act as Nina Simone, not to be Nina Simone. Should people only be hired if they can sufficiently prove that they relate to the character?

    • AlmondJoy says:

      Do you know anything about Nina Simone and what she stood for?

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Bastardized. Their mother’s legacy has been bastardized by people too callous to care about the woman they’re attempting to make money off of.

    • frank says:

      Watching your mother being depicted by someone who is not even her skin color is an insult

      • lucy says:

        Pardon my naivete, but I am going to ask this. If David Bowie can play The Elephant Man, why can’t Zoe Saldana play Nina Simone? Neither actor looks like the character IRL. So what?

        My question is not a comment on the prowess of Bowie or Saldana, but on the expectation some people have that the actor should closely resemble the character played without makeup enhancement.

        Sidenote: I did not watch the trailer for this biopic, but I have seen Ms. Simone perform live, from the front row (which was breathtaking).

      • Betsy says:

        @lucy – which actor does look like the elephant man? None of them. I couldn’t hazard a guess to how many darker African-American actresses there are, but there are a lot that could capture her spirit and, to some extent, her experiences of being told she wasn’t enough.

    • ollie says:

      Im sorry but the daughter sounds very mean. I was reading some of her twitter posts… she definitely has the right to feel strong about this movie but the way she rages about it and personal attacks Zaldana leaves a bitter taste.

      It may sound mean from me now but has the daughter even her own job and character? It seems she is nothing more than Nina’s daughter…. Her whole life is about speaking about her famous mother or tweet under her mother’s name. … She not even uses her own name here… She basically plays her mother. Maybe they didn’t want to cast her…

  5. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Everyday through direct words, implying, omission, or callousness we tell darker skinned women they are not worth looking at, appreciating, examining or adoring.

    We trot out women like Lupita and Viola the same way people trot out Obama as a black president, as if one or two examples patches up all the gaping wounds.

    Looking at Zoe dressed as Nina actually turns my stomach. Because it’s not a subtle change. That is layers and layers and layers of taking brown makeup and painting over a much lighter complexion. Layers and layers and layers of effort. Layers and layers of lies.

    To deny all the darker skinned actresses who applied. To ignore the agony of Nina all while trying to profit from it. Layers and layers of paint covering up a legacy that was one woman standing in passionate defiance of a world that wanted her to shut up and retreat.

    Little by little hiding her behind the coated mask of a woman who can not even muster an intelligent and compassionate response for people’s concerns. Who is too busy writing her own courageous narrative on how she overcame all the critics and used all that brown paint to make herself a hero.

    What a repulsive spectacle. Shame on you Zoe. Shame on the producers. Shame on everyone.

    • Alex says:

      Nailed it. This comment so much

    • Farhi says:

      Is it actually known who else auditioned?
      I think they went with Saldana because they thought she was more bankable.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        This film is gonna bomb hard, but Hollywood is used to accepting the losses from their whitewashing attempts.

        Just push this drivel in the pile with all the other box office bombs that completely misrepresent POC.

    • Shirleygail says:

      Is Zoe not a black woman?

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        She’s Afro-Latino. So good for her and sucks for the women who actually are dark enough to play this role who’ll never get the respect or work they deserve.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Look up “colorism”. It started during slavery when white slave owners staring producing biracial children. It set up our society to value lighter skinned Black women or biracial ones as being better accepted, prettier, more intelligent and later post-slavery more wealth.

        Within Black society there were tests like the Brown Paper bag test. If you had darker skin than a brown paper bag, you were not allowed entry into country clubs, social groups, sororities, professional organizations and professions, etc. Same if you had kinky hair instead of loose curls. All within Black society like the white vs black drinking fountains.

        This practice is still alive and happens in Hollywood. If a Black women is required for a part, they first look for one with one White parent (Berry), then next is someone with 2 Black parents but light skin color and more European features and hair texture (Zoe), at the very bottom of that ladder is a Dark skinned Black woman with Kinky Black hair (a look the majority of Blacks globally have).

        There was a leak of the casting call for “Straight out of Compton” that set up this same hierarchy when casting women even for bit parts. Black people have internalized this degrading COLOR spectrum theme as now normal.

      • V4Real says:

        Yes she identifies as Black while others with similar background identifies as Latino. Zoe is Dominican and Puerto Rican. Michele Rodriguez is also Dominican and Puerto Rican but she just identifies as Latino though she says that part of her ancestry is Black and European. A friend of mine is Dominican with African ancestry but she doesn’t identify as nothing but Latino. It’s their choice really.

      • PoliteTeaSipper says:

        Not black enough, apparently.

      • GoOnGirl says:

        My problem with Zoe is that she has never identified herself as black. Never. She has always identified as anything but Afro-American. Yet has always portrayed as the “black” girlfriends in many of her movies.

    • Tiffany27 says:

      Beautifully said @TESE. I want to start a family with this comment. Perfectly stated.

    • ohdear says:

      Thank you for explaining the reason for the backlash. I’m going to be honest about my ignorance because I think your explanation about the continued subtle and blatant devaluing of darker skinned women is so important. As I was reading the article, I wondered why it was such a big deal – white women cover their freckles for roles, Kidman wore a prosthetic nose and she was lauded for it. I guess that’s further example of the freedom white people have. I live in a very predominantly white city, with very few visible minorities.

      My ignorance is also an example of why I think it is so vital for minorities to have roles in writing, directing, producing, acting and why women should have leadership roles in law, politics and business. The issues minorities face don’t become part of the conversation in a meaningful and informative way unless they are told and a dialogue can follow- the stories are superficial and ‘entertaining’ and skim over the intricate challenges each culture face. I feel dumb but grateful to be informed so thank you.

      I hope the conversation continues….

      • AlmondJoy says:

        OhDear, I love your comment.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Just wanted to say I’m very impressed and grateful you’re willing to examine your own thought processes and try to do better. A lot of people aren’t and will plow ahead stubbornly.

        I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. To a lot of people they likely think of this as a cosmetics issue akin to drawing on or taking off freckles ignoring that we don’t have a national history of selling people as cattle for being born with freckles.

        Divorcing Nina’s skin tone and all her life stood for from the casting of this film reads like a bad joke. Nina herself would probably shriek and cry at the painful irony.

      • Alex says:

        Great comment OhDear

      • ohdear says:

        thanks ladies : )

      • Tara says:

        I didn’t truly get it either, so I’m very thankful for the explanations on this thread. I was aware of colorism, to some extent, but hadn’t thought about its history and continued impact. Naively, I’m still totally shocked it played a part in casting Straight Outta Compton. Would that dovetail into others’ comments about the intersection of sexism and racism? There are really so many interesting stories to tell, it’s a shame the same few get told over and over with the same stock characters. Gonna check out the Nina Simone documentary on Netflix.

    • Pinky says:


      But seriously, Hollywood will use this failure as a reason not to create more films starring black people and people of color if this film fails. So do you go see it in order to keep films with people of color getting made and in so doing. sanction this atrocity and leave them thinking their casting choice was valid, or do you forgo this mess and allow them to justify never making POC films again? Either way, they win. It’s blackmail and the public and POC lose.


      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        I have no doubt they’ll claim you just can’t make movies for POC like they clam you can’t make non-romantic comedies for women but at this point I’m content to let as many of their films bomb as need be till they get the message.

        Money isn’t limitless and Hollywood is barely scraping by. Box offices have been down across the board and it’s pretty clear there’s a disconnect between the films they release vs. what makes money vs. what wins awards. They may feel safe by going to foreign markets for financing but those regions have their own developing film industries and if profits dip down to nothing here Hollywood will find itself forced to make changes.

        The great thing about the internet is people have been exceedingly vocal about why they don’t support certain things. TV was like this 5 years ago and the changes made of being more inclusive to women and POC have brought in record profits. It’s up to Hollywood to decide how long they want to stubbornly tighten their belt until they starve.

      • kori says:

        Your Richonne hashtag makes me think how Danai would’ve done with this.

    • MCraw says:

      Bravo. Beautiful.

    • Katenotkatie says:

      Brava, Eternal Side-Eye! Beautifully and righteously put.

    • DragonWise says:

      Excellent comment! Could not agree more!

  6. BendyWindy says:

    So the controversy is just that Zoe isn’t black enough?

    • WTW says:

      Oh, gosh. It’s way more complicated than that. But, yes, blackface is offensive, even if a black person is wearing it. Also, colorism is rampant in Hollywood, and this project could’ve given an opportunity to a dark-complexioned actress with Nina Simone’s features. Lastly, I would say that Zoe Saldana just doesn’t have Nina Simone’s politics. I love Zoe, but she has said things like, “there’s no such thing as people of color” and really downplayed the importance of race, saying gender issues are more important. Nina Simone thought that racism was super important and dedicated much of her music to activism, which ultimately hurt her career. Politically and physically, Zoe is wrong, and I say this as a Zoe fan.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      No, the controversy is that darker skinned women do not exist. Not a single one. Not anywhere. No possible way to hire one. Not at all.

      Think I saw one in a textbook once.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Lend me that book please? I’m still looking.

        Listen, I’m a white girl from Germany and even I can see immediately what when wrong here. It’s THAT obvious. I always ask myself how many incompetent and ignorant people wander around Hollywood when something like this happens. As you said above, they had to pile on the layers and similarly, this sh*tshow had to go through many many stages of production and it was okay’d by MANY people. WHO are these people? And why do they have jobs?

  7. Narak says:

    When living in France, Nina Simone shot a kid for interrupting her piano practise with the noise from his skateboard – it was only a flesh wound- a French court gave her a small fine and prohibited her from owning guns. What would she have done about this awful movie.
    Luckily the documentary “What Happened Miss Simone?” Is amazing.

    • NeoCleo says:

      I really hope that story is not true.

      • Lurker says:

        It’s true.

      • Narak says:

        Neocleo- the stories vary as to whether the boys were skateboarding, swimming or laughing too loudly but what stays the same is that she shot buckshot at them, slightly injuring one and had to pay a fine as well as damages to the family.

    • Margo says:

      I don’t like to associate violence with mental illness, but I think her bipolar disorder along with with her — largely justifiable — extreme anger and resentment made for a dangerous combination at times. Like many artists, I adore her work and much of what she represented as a performer, but I’m glad I didn’t know her.

    • pinetree13 says:

      WHAT THE HECK! If that’s true I no longer respect this woman at all! What psycho-path shoots a child! For making noise?!?!?

      That’s evil. I’m hoping that’s not true because that’s evil.

  8. Mia4s says:

    I don’t usually like the expression “oh snap” but… Oh snap!

    This probably should have been left on the shelf but investors want their money. And I assume Zoe wanted “prestige”? That’s really it.

    To top it all off I’m hearing the movie gives her a romantic subplot with David Oyelowo’s character Clifton Henderson? Well of course, two very good looking actors and people love romance!…One problem…apparently Clifton Henderson was gay. I mean….what??? 🙄

  9. Sure Jan says:

    So Viola Davis agent and/or manager was unreachable or something? I’m not understanding this crap! Blackface aside let’s be real Zoe isn’t even a good actress her best acting was Drumline for crying out loud! Nina struggled with bipolar disorder and a abusive relationship Zoe doesn’t have the range to convey that type of emotions on screen!

    • FingerBinger says:

      That must have been the case. Viola Davis wasn’t available along with a half dozen other actresses who could have portrayed Nina Simone.

    • WTW says:

      I get everyone saying Viola Davis, but isn’t Davis too old? I don’t know what age Nina is supposed to be in this film, but I just assumed Viola had aged out of this part a while ago. Was Drumline Zoe’s best acting? Never seen but I’ll check it out now. I liked her acting in Center Stage.

    • Jess says:

      Maybe she nabbed the part because she was the best during the auditions? Controversy aside, I think Zoe is doing a great job acting in this trailer. Nina was a beautiful woman and certainly Zoe didn’t have to wear make up to play Nina but calling it blackface doesn’t seem like the right word for it, but maybe I’m just being ignorant.

      This isn’t some one using blackface to stereotype or degrade some one of color. Nor is it to help mask a white person playing the role but I do see both sides of the argument though. I just feel bad for Zoe since it seems like she’s getting a lot of flak when there are other people to blame for these decisions.

  10. Josefina says:

    Well, once the movie is made there’s nothing left to do but release it. It doesn’t seem like they’ll invest much in promotion anyway. But it will rightfully bomb. That much is clear.

  11. Alex says:

    I posted on twitter about this movie as well. I hurt for Nina’s family and her legacy. Luckily we have the other Nina movie to get us through. Zoe I love you girl but you are in the wrong doing this movie and your other comments about this movie removed the rest of my sympathy
    But honestly did I expect anything less from an all white team making a movie about a black icon? I mean cmon the same thing is happening to MJ. Just STOP

  12. D.Prince says:

    I am all for being critical of choices and reasons why certain choices are made. But telling anyone how they should or should not feel, what things should or should not mean to them and when they should and not take work is not my place or anyone elses.

    Zoe, if you can live with this portrayal…everyone else will somehow manage to find a way too.

    • lucky says:

      This + 100

    • Greenieweenie says:

      What a strange comment. If Nina Simone meant so much to Zoe, then one wonders why she took the role when Simone’s family so strongly opposed her casting.

      • lucy2 says:

        That’s what I don’t get. I fully understand her WANTING the role. But shouldn’t she have realized she wasn’t right for it? Especially when the family was so clearly upset?

      • Josefina says:

        This. If Zoe truly understood what Nina Simone stood for she wouldn’t have taken this role. Maybe she truly likes Nina’s music, but her understanding of it is as deep as a thumb.

  13. Tiffany27 says:

    OMG this is legit blackface. I thought people were exaggerating. No, just all of the “no’s”.

    • censored says:

      Thank you and for all the posters on her saying black people cant do blackface please do your research/One of the most degrading things about black face was that back in Vaudeville days BLACK performers couldn’t compete with white people wearing blackface as a result many Black performers were forced by their bosses to also perform in black(er ) face as well, those who refused lost their jobs,
      Also there is a difference between bronzer / foundation a few shades darker than that outright shoe polish mess Zoe got going on there
      Please Stop

  14. mia girl says:

    Yeah, I don’t understand how all the many people involved in making this movie did not truly recognize how big an issue this would be given that Nina Simone struggled so much because of the darkness of her skin. They understood enough that Zoe’s skin color was too light because why else would they have used makeup to make her skin darker? Shouldn’t that have clued everyone in?

    And what’s up with David Oyelowo on this? He was not only the co-lead but an Executive Producer on the project. I mean maybe I can see how the director who is not a person of color may not really understand the implications of casting Zoe and then trying to darken her skin, but man I would think Oyelowo would know much better.

    • Mia25 says:

      Many black people, especially black men, are extremely vocal on the issue of racism and white privilege but are tone-deaf when it comes to colorism among black people and refuse to acknowledge that it even exists.

      • DragonWise says:

        Agreed, and I think a lot of that ignorance is due to their own unacknowledged preference for lighter-skinned women in their personal lives. It’s easier not to look at where that preference comes from.

  15. lucky says:

    White actors are allowed to change their hair, gain weight, and have freckles painted on, wear prosthetic noses ( re academy award winning performances by Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman), but someone with African ancestry isn’t allowed to use the same techniques?

    Is it okay to tell a black actress that she isn’t black enough to play a role?

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Why do people keep framing it this way?

      What about the issue of colorism and racism this exemplifies?

      What about the dozens of black characters with a darker skin tone who’s portrayals have been lightened so that actresses like Halle Berry, Zoe Kravitz and others are playing them? Why does that keep happening?

      Why are we so comfortable with eliminating darker skinned women from work? Why does it not bother people that when it comes to skin tone we never see darker skinned portrayed positively? Slave? Check. Ghetto kid? Check. Idol? Nope. Get the brown foundation and paint a lighter girl up.

      • lucky says:

        @side eye.

        I have been continually sickened by Hollywood’s negative portrayal of black characters, not to mention the greater issues faced by African Americans outside of entertainment. I think what you are saying is important. I don’t think it is fair for white people to double down on Zoe for basically doing what white actresses do all the time which is put on a costume and play/appropriate historical figures to further their careers. Same goes for white actors. I find something discriminatory about that double standard. I think what you are addressing is something even worse -the exclusion of dark skinned women from our media.

        It’s very common for families to object in the way that Simone’s family is objecting.

        You are right that there are not enough roles for darker skinned actresses. And it seems justified to be upset about this appropriation in particular. But is it cool to vilify Zoe for it? In my personal opinion no, and in so doing there seems to be in inadvertent racist notion that arises.

    • WTW says:

      @Lucky, when you’re playing a real person whose physical features played a huge part in their life and artistry, yes it is.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      There’s been an endless amount of explanations as to why this isn’t ok.

    • Pandy says:

      Well, you can’t win, really. Outcry about Michael Jackson being played by a white man (legit) but then a black woman playing a black woman is also an issue. I don’t know, but it seems like there’s no winning here …. I don’t think the fact that she darkened her skin tone for the role is the worst thing. It’s like gaining weight, etc. for a role.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        How many times in history did we lynch people based on how much they weighed?

        Did we beat people on the streets if we saw them eat a donut? Because that’s what we did to darker skinned people ALL. THE. TIME.

        You can not lose your skin tone by dieting.

      • lucky says:


        Hollywood tells stories, albeit imperfectly. The scrutiny being placed on Zoe would not be placed on a white actress playing a white historical figure or on Daniel Day Lewis playing Lincoln.

        I suppose stories shouldn’t even be told at all.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      I think many people do not realize that this film might not have made at all if a star like Zoe had not agreed to star in it. It is not a choice between her and someone who looks perfect for the part, it is a choice between her and nobody at all. Maybe they could have gotten some other black actress to star in the film, but the number of black actresses that have sufficient star power is very short.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        “but the number of black actresses that have sufficient star power is very short.”

        And yet the number of white actresses is limitless. 5 years ago Jennifer Lawrence was not a household name. She was a young struggling actress and now she is one of the most in-demand and well laid stars. Every year a new bundle of white actresses is given a chance and from there either go on to great success or fall to the wayside. The point is they get the chance.

        How much like a vicious cycle it is that black actresses are rarely given a chance and then the lack of black star power is used as vindication for why films about our history don’t deserve the same respect and care. But I’m sure there’ll be another Steve Jobs film soon.

      • Bridget says:

        I personally disagree there. This isn’t the kind of movie that is made with the expectation of a ‘name’ actress opening it.

  16. Greenieweenie says:

    Actors are so out of touch. They think they live in this magical world where your art gives you license to inhabit anyone. But art is expressed in society, and society does not. So this is society telling her where artistic license ends and cruel parody begins. If she were a real artist, she’d say the conversation she provoked was deliberate and fascinating. But since she just wanted the opportunity to do what she wanted to do, without pushback because ART, she’s going to be defensive and make it about ‘haters’.

    It’s not about some formula of what skin color gets to play which roles in some perfect egalitarian world. It’s about recognizing when skin color is key to a role and when it is not. And obviously, black skin is far more likely to be key to a person’s identity/life story because society made it that way. White skin is rarely key, unless the story unfolds in a racially charged setting–again, because society made it that way.

  17. AliceTheBee says:

    Come on, she isn’t black enough to play a black part ? Sure she doesn’t look anything like Nina Simone but still, she is black and not light skin Rihanna. And people of color (hate that word) can actually get darker with high sun exposure so it no like she is not black enough. Maybe it because she is too attractive and they hate that.
    ps: dont come for me, I’m black too so I dont get the hate.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      She’s the exact same skin tone as Rihanna.

      I’m really starting to think people’s approach to it is “Hey close enough, you’re black right? Good enough.”

      Yup. Get Zoe Kravitz to play Michelle Obama. Close enough right?

    • FingerBinger says:

      You’re missing the point. I pointed out yesterday that Diana Ross didn’t look like Billie Holiday but she didn’t need to. Zoe Saldana didn’t have to paint herself to play Nina Simone. It’s called acting.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        Idk. I think it would be moronic to cast a darker skinned white actor to play Obama because hey, Obama’s half white so why not? No, because black identity is a key element to Obama’s story. So I don’t think it would matter if you cast a black actor as Obama (as opposed to half black/white)–it’s not about accuracy so much as authenticity. As a politician, Obama identified with the black community and his is a political story.

        But if Nina Simone’s story is about being not just black but *dark* black–not just racism like Billie Holliday experienced (Diana Ross would have too in that era) but also colorism–then that is the authenticity that should drive casting. This feels like hanging plastic breasts on a male actor and casting him in a female role on Mad Men.

      • lucy says:

        @FingerBinger: EXACTLY!

        Please see my comment regarding David Bowie portraying The Elephant Man, upthread.

  18. Farhi says:

    I always stand up for an underdog, and sorry but I feel all this shaming of Saldana is too much.

    She didn’t mean any harm, she wanted to do a good job and now to see her own community turning on her like that must be extremely hurtful for her. She is a live woman with feelings, she shouldn’t be treated like some kind of a public enemy just because people don’t think she is a suitable actress for the role. Make another one with someone who you think will be better. We’ve had two Steve Jobs movies, there is no rule that there can be only one biopic.

    All this infighting is counterproductive and will only make it harder to make movies about African Americans because it is such a minefield.

    • WTW says:

      @Farhi, hopefully it will make it harder for people to make movies involving blackface.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      “She didn’t mean any harm, she wanted to do a good job and now to see her own community turning on her like that must be extremely hurtful for her. ”


      You know what’s funny? Steve Jobs died so recently and there have been so many films about his life. Want to know how many chances you get to make a film honoring a POC? Let’s count how long ago Nina’s life was compared to Steve’s…and this is what she got to honor her.

      If she gets another movie in my lifetime I’ll be genuinely surprised, because it doesn’t happen. We don’t get major motion pictures about our lives everyday. Make or break. If it’s good then it’s amazing. If it’s bad then that’s it.

      • Marny says:

        You know, someone the other day listed a few people they thought would be better for the role, one being India Arie. IA actually did say that she didn’t feel qualified enough as an actress to take on such an important role. It’s possible that Zoe’s telling the truth and that many people didn’t want to take this on..? Nina Simone has very big shoes to fill.
        Actually, I just checked Viola Davis. It sounds like she wasn’t asked to or didn’t audition. She sounds supportive of Zoe though.

      • brincalhona says:

        You’re absolutely right that it takes longer to get a film made about a person of colour, even more so if that person is a woman. Once it does get made, it is done in the whitest way possible. Neither Ashton Kutcher nor Michael Fassbender has the same ethnicity as Steve Jobs.
        The film industry needs to be shaken up like the music and publishing industries. People should start producing their own stories and releasing them via non-traditional channels. A good story is a good story and doesn’t need to be an instant hit to become a classic.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      @Farhi, ORLY? I would think it would just make it more difficult for people to make movies about someone who was oppressed in a way that mimics the oppression. Because that’s the minefield–it isn’t being African American. So sorry stories of oppression are sensitive and difficult to navigate.

    • Adrien says:

      She wanted an Oscar so bad she accepted an Oscar baity biopic even if she knew she wasn’t the right one for the role. She knew back then blackface and some prosthetic nose will be involved in creating her character. The trailer looks like a Lifetime movie.

  19. Whatwhatnot says:

    I don’t think Zoe was the right actress for this simply because she just isn’t that great of an actress. But some of the complain’ts against her were simply because she is a Puerto Rican/Dominican-American and for some people, she simply wasn’t “black enough” to play Nina. Which to me is a bit petty. I think if a lighter-skinned actress that actually embodied a lot of who Nina was were chosen to play her, I don’t think it would have been as big of an issue. I think India Arie, as a dark skinned woman as well as a singer, would have been great for the role in that aspect, I just don’t know how good of an actress she is? Definitely NOT Fantasia though. And I adore Audra McDonald. She is B’way royalty! and Viola is a definitely a great choice, since she’s got the acting chops

  20. Pix says:

    Wow. I find this all so interesting – the release time of the movie. Coming off the Oscars where Hollywood was put on blast, a studio chooses to release this controversial movie on the heels of these important conversations.
    Even more interesting is that instead of holding the director, studio, or casting director accountable for the poor casting choice, people are blasting Zoe (a woman of color) for taking the role. I 100% agree that this movie is offensive and a disgrace to Nina Simone’s legacy. The blackface make-up is atrocious. But if dig a little deeper and I have to ask if Zoe is being set-up as the scapegoat for our collective exasperation with Hollywood’s blatant rasicm?

  21. lexx says:

    For Almost everyone on this thread.
    Colorism: google it people.

  22. K says:

    Yeah that is black face and it shouldn’t have been done. I will say I don’t get the Viola suggestion yes she is a brilliant actress but I feel like she has to be to old.

    That being said there are extremely talented young darker skin women. please note I’m not bashing Zoe but if they knew they’d have to put her on black face then they probably should have widened the search for talent because it is offensive.

  23. Beechie says:

    I have no issue with Zoe playing Nina Simone. The issue for me is why the black-face? Angela Bassett played Tina ,doesn’t look like her and not even close complexions! If Zoe got it because she was really the best choice her acting skills would be all she needed!!

  24. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    This and the Michael Jackson/Ralph Fiennes post have taught me people have a really divorced idea of what it means to be black.

    We’re not a grab bag of minority that you can pick any of us up and it’s good enough. Our skin tone is not equivalent to some Hollywood trick of losing weight. The entire legacy of our role in this country is our skin made us an excellent target for slavery, rape, segregation, police brutality and neglect. That at a point in our history if we dared to be seen unaccompanied by a white person controlling us like a dog we could be beaten and whipped.

    Just because we were born with a different skin tone.

    Nina’s whole life was her being amazing but damned because if her skin had been lighter, her hair straighter, her eyes more blue she’d have been worshipped. But all that talent and passion was buried under a skin tone that the world openly mocked and ridiculed telling her repeatedly she wasn’t worth the respect she kept demanding.

    You can not swap us out and substitute us for whatever is most convenient. We all have unique experiences that are based on our skin. The lighter slaves had the ‘luxury’ of working in the house and passing and the darker slaves did not. That colorism is a HUGE part of the divide that was created between us and when it comes time to honor a darker woman born from that injustice it is offensive to take a lighter skinned woman and paint her up because you can’t find the strength to hire a woman who looks like the woman your movie is supposadly honoring.

    • Thunderthighs says:

      I’m beginning to think that people are not reading any of the above comments, especially the ones so well explained as yours before posting their tone-deaf comments. That, or they’re simply not willing to open their minds to understand what the issue is. Either way, it’s so saddening.

      • lucky says:

        I just don’t think it’s cool to scapegoat Zoe the way that the title and tone of this article imply that readers should. It’s a sensitive topic, but I don’t like to see an actress be smeared because of her colour and her decision to take on an acting challenge.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Lucky: People are not smearing her for being the skin color/tone that she is. They’re upset that she agreed to accept a role where she wears face paint to make her appear darker and a prosthetic nose. It does a disservice to Nina and what she stood for. This point has been made over and over again.

    • V4Real says:

      @Eternal Side-Eye

      I’m giving you the nickname “Truth Hurts” because you are hurting them with the truth right now.

    • I Choose Me says:

      As always TESE so well said! I’ve defended Zoe in the past and I dislike a pile-on but this movie looks so bad and her comments regarding the issue, her tone-deafness makes it all the worse esp., since she claims to admire Nina Simone so much.

      Colorism is so real, so insidious and needs to be addressed. Unfortunately those who most need to be educated on this topic won’t get it. Bless the one or two who do.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      It was Joseph Fiennes, not Ralph.

  25. lower-case deb says:

    well at least it’s just an estate.
    unlike Christopher Lee who got clapbacked by a whole country plus death threats for his role as Jinnah. /s

    but srsly, i think this is another case of how systemic this whole casting problem is in Hollywood. often diversity means more of the same.

  26. Marianne says:

    I can sort of understand on her part for taking the role. As a POC, who probably doesn’t come across roles as often as her white counterparts, she probably felt like she couldn’t pass up this opportunity to take on a leading role like this.

    However it is kind of ridiculous that they need to darken her skin (which tbh, the make-up job doesn’t even look that good from the photos here).

    • Greenieweenie says:

      I really think Zoe’s logic was something like, well I was blue in Avatar so what’s the big deal?

  27. Betti says:

    This movie has been sat on the shelf for the past 3 years, clearly they knew the reception it would get hence why they put it there. I suspect its being released now in response to the #OscarSoWhite controversy. This could harm Zoe and David’s careers.

  28. Loo says:

    I do wish more anger was directed at the ignorant white Hollywood bigwigs behind this movie. It makes me uncomfortable that Saldana is getting most of the blame just like it made me uncomfortable that Emma Stone got so much of the blame for her casting blunder.

    And Saldana is a black woman so I wouldn’t call it blackface. Why Saldana couldn’t play the role with her regular skin color I don’t understand. They hired a lighter than Simone black lady for the role, own that, do no go darkening her skin.

  29. lucky says:

    So in other words it’s justified to dissect, discuss, and smear a black actress on the basis of her skin colour, which by the way she has no control over, as a means of having a greater conversation about skin colour. Zoe’s equality means less and there are roles that she is not allowed to play because of the colour of her skin. Both black and white roles. I don’t know of white actresses who are smeared for the same reasons. Black actresses face more scrutiny and that seems to be perfectly ok in this forum?

    • lucy says:

      @Lucky: I hear you. It is very hypocritical to condemn an actress for her natural skin color and makeup for a role, particularly while complaining about women being oppressed for their skin color and appearance.

  30. Ravensdaughter says:

    There is a astonishng documentary Netflix produced: “What Happened, Miss Simone?”
    Nina’s daughter participated extensively in this film, and there was plenty of live footage and photographs of the real Nina to fill the documentary. Also interviews from people who knew her. And the soundtrack….is…Nina!
    I am a Nina fan and I really appreciated it as a clear eyed look at a very talented artist who had a significant battle with mental illness. The footage where she said that performing gave her moments of feeling free was so poignant, and so emblematic of the life she lived.
    It is refreshing to see a story like Nina’s NOT given the Hollywood treatment.
    Skip what looks like a mess of a movie and watch the documentary!

    • EscapedConvent says:

      @Ravensdaughter, You’re right! “What Happened, Miss Simone? Is fantastic.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      I need to check this out. For me, only the real Nina will do. I won’t even look at this godforsaken trailer.

  31. Queenie says:

    She also doesn’t have the build or the speaking voice. It’s just bad casting. My guess is it was purely a financial decision because 4 years ago they thought she was a big enough draw to turn a profit. They would have been smarter to cast names in other roles and introduce a new actress who could completely get into Nina Simone.

  32. word says:

    I think the issue most people have here is that Zoe could have simply played the role without them darkening her skin. Why did they need to make her darker? She could still portray the character without the face and body paint. Ridiculous.

    • Trixie says:

      Then people would have been pissed off that Zoe wasn’t being true to the character and wasn’t dark enough. This is a no win situation. No matter what, people would have complained because they just want to complain or because they just don’t like Zoe in general.

    • Jwoolman says:

      I think they really did need to try to match skin color to some degree in this case because it was a major issue for Nina. It would be hard to tell her story properly without a darker skin tone. My guess is that they chose Zoe for other reasons and figured they could fix the color with makeup. They obviously knew it was a key point or else they wouldn’t have bothered trying to match the colors.

      Geez, no wonder people were afraid to take this role…. Can’t win. The reaction of the family isn’t really that unusual for someone of living memory, especially if they didn’t get to work on the movie themselves (as they were able to do on the documentary). Their anger may actually have more to do with that, if so. They might have reacted the same to any actress if they weren’t included in production, although the details would be tweaked to fit the actress. People are just like that, it’s happened with other movies about people who had family who remembered them well. It’s hard to see your loved one portrayed by someone else, it’s understandable that they feel more comfortable if they are in control. Movies about people who died at least a hundred years ago are safer….

      I wonder if people would feel the same way if the makeup had been well done and convincing? Maybe the real problem is right there in the makeup department. Not sure why it couldn’t be fixed nowadays with digital magic. Whether or not she’s a good enough actress for the role is a different issue and it seems unfair to judge when nobody has seen the whole movie yet. Maybe she’s awful, maybe she’s not. Sometimes a good director gets a much better performance out of an actor than would be expected.

  33. Zaytabogota says:

    At least they didn’t black a white woman up as they did with Angelina Jolie in a Mighty Heart. I understand the anger, the darker you are the harder it is to get roles so when a role like this comes along and is given to a lighter person then it must sting. At the same time, Zoe doesn’t get nearly as many opportunities as she would if she were a white actress of the same status so I can understand that it’s impossible for her to turn down the role of a lifetime. I don’t judge her at all.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:


      I don’t know how many roles she’s offered but she has one of the most successful careers in Hollywood as a POC.

      She’s a part of multiple major franchises and films including: Avatar, Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy. All films that have made billions and have guaranteed sequels waiting for her.

      If we want to frame it like a story then the truth is in the story of the underdog actress who doesn’t get many roles Zoe plays the villain who who takes the role from her. I can point to one role she should have left on the table.

      • Zaytabogota says:

        Yes but they’re not character roles, just big budget entertainment. There’s very little variety available for even the most successful people of colour. It’s not wrong for her to take on a role that actually stretches her acting ability when such opportunities are extremely limited. No white person is condemned for playing roles that require massive physical change courtesy of make up artists, neither should actresses of colour. She’s still black, it’s not like they picked a white person and coloured them in.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:


        Nina’s life story was one of the racism she faced specifically because she was a darker skinned black woman. Blacks face similar struggles but we are not an interchangeable malange of melanin. It is mockery to tell the story of a woman who was told to quit because she was dark with a large nose and heavier by casting a lighter skinned actress. It flies in the face of the very movie they claim to be making.

        Clearly they had enough common sense to know Nina’s story was not able to be separated from her skin tone. Why they thought a poor makeup job would earn anything other than scorn is a mystery. How does one make a movie about her struggle by employing the exact same racist decisions that tortured her?

        Not everything will always perfectly equate to white actors and actresses. Whites did not face public execution for being overweight, having freckles, or large noses.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        “Not everything will always perfectly equate to white actors and actresses. Whites did not face public execution for being overweight, having freckles, or large noses.”

        This right here. Why is this so hard to understand? Why do people keep comparing this to what Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron did?? This is completely different.

    • Jwoolman says:

      Angelina Jolie was the choice of the real woman she portrayed, who was a very interesting mixture ethnically. She was very pleased with Jolie’s handling of the role. This wasn’t a case of Hollywood casting a “white actress” in a “black role”. The real person said the superficial appearance didn’t matter, that Jolie understood her at a deeper level.

  34. A.Key says:

    I thought Saldana was part black? Or she referred to herself as black? I remember reading her saying she was proud of coming from the black community. So if she considers herself as black or part black, then I guess I can understand why she took the project.

    I get that people are complaining Saldana’s not “black enough” for the role, to put it bluntly, but what I’m wondering is why complain she’s too pretty? It’s almost a Hollywood standard to cast beautiful people to portray real-life individuals who were not actually attractive. I’m sure we’re all aware of this, regardless of the skin of the actor.

    I mean Nicole Kidman had a fake nose to portray Virginia and she won an Oscar. Charlize Theron had a whole fake face on for Monster, again won an Oscar, again no one complained. Both characters were very much defined by their appearance as well, again, no one said a word.

    Does the (legitimate) backlash happen only when it’s not a white person?

    • Saks says:

      She is a black woman, an afro-Latina. People are pissed because she is Latina.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      Virginia Woolf’s life story did not revolve around her nose. It revolved around her gender. If Nicholas Kidman had been cast as
      Virginia Woolf, prosthetic nose and all, there would be similarly warranted outcry.

      It’s also not about whether it’s okay to change your appearance. If historically, the entire country were run by a species of exceptionally beautiful people who oppressed an underclass of uglies, and “went ugly” as a form of entertainment and amusement, then I would take equal offense at Charlize doing so for Monster. It’s just about context and awareness.

    • Magnoliarose says:

      No. Asians don’t like it, Latinos don’t like it and most overweight people find fat suits offensive. Native Americans also don’t like it.

  35. Izzy says:

    I understand all the criticism directed at this movie, and agree with all of it. I think that there were many other actresses available to play the part who would have looked more the part and this project would not have been such a huge insult to Simone’s legacy.

    However, I will say these two things: Saldana is being condemned for her skin color – how is THAT acceptable in any way? Also, Nina Simone’s estate’s tweet to Saldana? Classless and tasteless, much as they are, which is not a huge surprise for a bunch of people tweeting under the identity of a dead person.

    • Fallon says:

      While I can understand the estate’s unhappiness, I agree that their response was in poor taste. There were better ways to frame their disgust with the project.

      • kori says:

        Agree–they could’ve learned from some commentators here. I’ve gained way more insight and understanding from posters than the estate. But I guess the emotional component plays a part too.

  36. Trixie says:

    Wow, whoever runs that Nina Simone Twitter account is really rude. I understand they’re upset but there is no reason to be nasty about it.

    Also, I understand that racism is a huge problem and the light skinned v dark skinned issue in terms of beauty standards, but…. People are attacking Zoe Saldana for the color of her skin and her facial features. All things SHE CANNOT CHANGE. How is this acceptable? Nina Simone got judged negatively based on the color of her skin and her facial features and everyone is up in arms, yet many people here are judging Zoe negatively based on the color of her skin and her facial features. Double standards much? Again, how is this acceptable?

    • blaugrau says:

      I totally agree with you, Zoe doesn’t deserve this. Also, why is the list from vulture good? Because they choose actresses who are physically similar to Nina? Is it the only thing that matters in this subject, the physical appearance? I thought it was way more complex to choose the adecuate person for a role.

    • V4Real says:

      Zoe is not being attacked because of the color of her skin. She’s being so called attacked for wearing Blackface to portray a dark skinned legend when there are plenty of dark skin actresses who could have been chosen to play Nina without having to drastically alter their skin tone. And she’s also being attack because people don’t believe she is the right person for that role. She’s not a good actress.

      • Saks says:

        Still not the person to be blamed but the diector or producer who made that decision.

  37. G says:

    Well it could be worse. They could have cast Beyonce.

  38. Marny says:

    Wow, I’ve got to say that I agree with Mic and Trixie completely. I’ve been turning this over in my head for the last few hours trying to think of a way to express my reaction to all of this without putting my foot in my mouth but I don’t have to worry anymore bc you both said it all very well.

  39. jeanster123 says:

    I don’t think she’s the right person for the role. I also don’t think she looks all that different. They gave her her pre-surgery nose back is all and made her a shade darker.

    Before nose job

  40. Saks says:


  41. LP says:

    Seriously disappointed in some of the people on this thread- take 5 or 10 minutes from your (white, I’m assuming) lives and Google colorism! Look up Nina Simone! Her dark skin was INTEGRAL to her identity, and he LITERAL black face paint is gross and unacceptable. While you’re at it, ask yourself why people who want proper respresentation are not allowed to be annoyed, in your view!

  42. Linda says:

    lupita nyong’o could have played the part.

  43. Argirl says:

    I personally think it’s sickening that this black woman is being attacked bc her skin tone is not dark enough. How can she win? She can only play people who have the exact same skin tone? With a cry in the industry to have more meaty roles for minorities, people should be supporting the film. How can anyone think it’s right to bully someone bc of their skin color?

  44. neve says:

    should have gotten Zawe Ashdon

  45. amanda says:

    After looking at the list Vulture compiled I really don’t understand why on earth they settled for ZS. Any of those ladies would have nailed this role.

  46. Rebecca says:

    Look at the makeup line on chest. You can see where the dark makeup ends and her skin begins. That should be an indication of how good this movie will be. I agree. Zoe Saldana should have refused this makeup.

  47. ViktoryGin says:

    This tone-deaf discourse is just deeply disappointing, so I’ll keep it brief because I’m finding it difficult to muster my usual “approachable black chick all the whites feel comfortable with” vibe. If one’s life experiences preclude any understanding of the the insidious influence of colorism, I direct you to the documentary “Dark Girls”:

    What so many on this thread seem to not understand is the political and power implications of skin color in a way that just doesn’t exist for nose shape/size and freckles. Tired of this conversation for real. Beginning to think that a brick wall has stronger powers of comprehension.

  48. Guest058 says:

    It is true that she shouldn’t be the only one that gets the backlash, it’s not because she isn’t black enough. there have been plenty of reasons why her doing this is not ok from the comments above. Saw the trailer, the makeup was distracting so maybe she gives a good performance… maybe she doesn’t… either way that makeup is all you notice.

  49. sj77 says:

    This is ridiculous! She’s not black enough? UGH!

  50. Woo Hoo says:

    Colorism argument aside, just throwing it out there that it’s a lie that Zoe has never identified as a Black woman.

    ““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).””

  51. Pumpkin Pie says:

    Why so much criticism twd ZS? Not only about this movie, it’s quite often that she get criticised a lot. I’m just curious.

  52. MD says:

    Some very articulate posts here outlining the problem(s) with this film. No need for me to re-hash the same arguments. I know that I won’t be financially supporting this movie, whether at the cinema or on Netflix. I saw the trailer and the film looks even worse with action than the few stills that were released previously. Zoe Saldana doesn’t move or sound like Nina Simone; her face looks like a caricature, completely jarring and not subtle at all.

    Ever been to a funeral home to view a deceased black person laying in an open casket? I used to cringe, not at the sight of the lifeless person but at the horrid makeup job that was done. It seems that there’s only two foundation shades available for morticians to use on coloured people–light and dark (no “medium” gradient shades). Either way, the colour NEVER matched. It didn’t look natural at all. And the application was “cakey” like a thick paste, not smooth. This is what Zoe Saldana’s cosmetic version of Nina Simone resembles: a botched death mask. As a family member, I’d be highly offended as well.

  53. Danskins says:

    If the tone-deaf, insensitive posters on this board don’t understand why POC are justifiably outraged at Zoe’s choice to play a character she had no business taking on, then they’re just choosing to remain willfully ignorant.

    Many on here have posted well-written, thoughtful and detailed responses as to why colorism is remains a huge issue with many implications among POC.

    Get outside your priveledge bubble and get some sensitivity training. Learn compassion. Google is your friend. Look up Nina Simone to understand why her music was so heavily impacted by experiences as being a dark-skinned black woman who was constantly told she wasn’t pretty enough (even though she was gorgeous).

    It’s not always about you, and your (obviously) limited interactions with POC that cause you to fail to fully grasp the depth of this situation.