Posted on March 3, 2016

Zoe Saldana Under Fire for Blackface in Nina Simone Biopic

Derrick Bryson Taylor, Page Six, March 3, 2016

Nina Simone’s family is not happy that Zoe Saldana wears a prosthetic nose and blackface for her role as the late singer in “Nina.”

“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me–Not fear . . . I mean really, no fear,” Saldana, 37, quoted the late singer on Twitter Wednesday in reaction to the criticism.

Simone’s official account fired back, “Cool story but please take Nina’s name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life.”

The account–which is billed as the “Official Twitter for the Estate & Legacy of Dr. Nina Simone #ninasimone Pianist, singer, songwriter, activist, icon, mother. Doctor of Music and Humanities”–later tweeted, “Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing. It shall pass, but for now . . .”


Saldana drew much criticism in 2012 after initial images of her in makeup surfaced. Some were outraged, while others thought the film should have cast a dark-skinned actress to play the part of the controversial singer.

Saldana, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, later revealed her own doubts about the casting. “I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” she told InStyle in June 2015.