Controversy: Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone

Courtesy of abc

Zoe Saldana has been causing quite a stir in Hollywood lately. The starlet has fallen victim to a lot of harsh media criticism for her upcoming role as Nina Simone.

Last August, reports leaked that Saldana would be playing the role of the late iconic jazz singer, Nina Simone in a biopic. Since then, people have not stopped criticizing her for taking it on. The interesting part of the whole situation is the reason why people are so hesitant.

It would seem that in 2013 race would not still be a big issue, but it’s clear that it still is in a lot of ways. Many people, including some celebrities, debated whether Saldana should play the role of Simone because she is “an Afro-Latina actress of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent,” whereas  Nina was African-American, according to the Huffington Post online.

People said they felt like someone who could sing and who resembled Simone more should have been casted instead, like Viola Davis or Mary J. Blige, who was initially chosen for the role before it was given to Saldana.

To make matters worse, shortly after the news of Saldana’s new role broke, pictures surfaced of her dressed up as the jazz singer. Because Saldana is naturally lighter than Simone was, she had to be painted in darker make-up to resemble the singer more. She also had to wear an afro-textured wig.

This was unsettling to viewers and people who were close to Simone because it seemed very unrealistic to them and they did not feel like Simone was being represented properly.

“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,” Simone Kelly, Nina’s daughter, said in an interview with the New York Times.

Singer and Songwriter India Arie also shared her opinion on the issue in a post on her website.

“Yes they should have chosen someone who looks like Nina Simone, especially since her race played such a pivotal role in who, what and why, she was,” Arie said.

Today, Saldana has continued to face hurtful backlash from her decision to take this role. However, she claims that it doesn’t bother her because she knows who she is playing this role for.

“I did it all out of love for my people and my pride of being a black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman, and that’s my truth,” Saldana said in an interview with Hip. Hollywood.

Personally, I can see both points of view in this story. On one end, it is important to find someone who embodies who Nina Simone was vocally and aesthetically because it was a big part of her life story.

However, if Saldana has the proper skills to play Simone’s character right, I don’t think her looks should be such a big concern. Although make-up may not completely make Saldana look like Simone, I do think it will get the point across, and  I don’t think it’s fair that she is being judged so harshly.

Zoe Saldana may not look anything like Nina Simone, but she should still be respected for her efforts in playing the role. No actor or actress is going to look exactly like the person they are supposed to be playing in a biopic. What matters is their spirit and their determination to bring those people to life on camera.