All Articles Tagged "Nina Simone Biopic"

“She’s Not Responsible:” Nina Simone’s Daughter Comes To Zoe Saldana’s Defense

March 4th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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Nina-posterIn the midst of the Nina Simone biopic controversy, the last person we’d expect to see come to the defense of Zoe Saldana, who’s been heavily criticized for essentially wearing Blackface in the film and dishonoring the singer’s legacy, is Simone’s daughter. But that’s exactly who spoke out against critics of the actress in an interview with TIME magazine yesterday.

Asked how she felt watching the trailer for the film which was released Wednesday, Simone’s 53-year-old daughter Simone Kelly said: “I really didn’t feel much of anything except for poor Zoe.”

That response is far different from that of Nina Simone’s official Twitter account which two days ago basically told Saldana to keep the musician’s name out of her mouth.

Kelly said she was unaware of the tweet before TIME brought it to her attention and she doesn’t agree with the slight toward Saldana at all.

“It’s unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture. It’s clear she brought her best to this project, but unfortunately she’s being attacked when she’s not responsible for any of the writing or the lies.

“The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton (Simone’s manager whom Kelly noted was a gay man) which never took place. They never had an amorous relationship. The project has been tainted from the very beginning. Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother’s life and everyone now knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered.”

Kelly stated she and her family hired family friend Aaron Overfield to manage Nina Simone’s official website and Facebook page years ago, but it’s unclear who’s responsible for Tuesday’s tweets. And although Kelly has made it clear she and her family are “not upset with Zoe,” she doesn’t believe Saldana was a “proper choice, appearance-wise.”

“There are many superb actresses of color who could more adequately represent my mother and could bring her to the screen with the proper script, the proper team and a sense of wanting to bring the truth of my mother’s journey to the masses. And Nina, in my opinion, doesn’t do any of that.

“I’m no longer bothered by it because the truth is already out there. I don’t have to justify, define or educate anybody about my mother anymore. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m free in a way that I have never been before.”

Bob Johnson, Founder of BET, Comes To Zoe Saldana’s Defense Amid Nina Backlash

March 3rd, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Founder of BET Comes To Zoe Saldana's Defense feat

It’s very likely that yesterday wasn’t the best day in Zoe Saldana’s professional career. Yesterday, we saw the trailer for Nina, the Nina Simone biopic. And basically, it wasn’t good. The makeup was off, causing her to look, as my friend put it, “muddy.” For a lot of people, it confirmed what many of us feared. That the very features Nina Simone was bold enough to celebrate in herself became a mockery in the film that was meant to honor her.

The backlash was rampant on the internet. But it all came to a head, when the verified Twitter account for Simone’s estate and legacy tweeted this.


This is the very reason I felt so badly writing about the trailer. It is clear that Saldana was not the woman for this role. But I also think she signed up for the project with the intent to honor a Black cultural icon. And now the very people who belong to the same culture that Simone sought to both represent and uplift are dogging her all on social media. That has to be hurtful.

There is one person who is coming to her defense though. And that’s Robert L. Johnson, better known as Bob Johnson, founder of BET as well as RLJ Entertainment. RLJ Entertainment just so happens to be the company that acquired the rights to distribute Nina last fall. After all of the backlash Saldana received, Johnson issued this statement.

 “Zoe Saldana delivers an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute to Nina Simone.  She gave her heart and soul to the role and displayed her extraordinary talent.   The most important thing is that creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness.  Quality entertainment should be measured by the sheer force of creativity and the commitment that an actor or actress brings to the performance.  We are proud to distribute the film headlined by Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo on April 22, 2016.”

Robert L. Johnson, Founder and Chairman, RLJ Entertainment

Founder, Black Entertainment Television (BET)

What do you think about this statement and Johnson’s general decision to distribute the film?

Will You Look Beyond Zoe Saldana’s Prosthetic Nose & Blackface And See Nina In April?

March 2nd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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nina simone biopic

Production for the biopic Nina started back in 2012, and ever since photos surfaced of Zoe Saldana wearing dark makeup and both a prosthetic nose and teeth, it’s been a movie plagued by controversy. Simone’s daughter criticized Saldana’s casting, India Arie called Saldana’s transformation “ridiculous,” and the actress went from saying that she couldn’t let her detractors phase her to saying she was quite hurt by all the criticism, and director Cynthia Mort could only implore the skeptical public to see the movie before judging it.

But actually seeing it seemed like something that would never happen. Again, the film started production in 2012–it’s 2016. What happened? As Saldana would go on to say last November,

As Saldana would go on to say last November, the project was severely mismanaged:

“The people behind the project weren’t my cup of tea. The director was fine, but there was a lot of mismanagement, which is why we’re still here three years later. And I’m still trying to fight with everybody to get the movie finished. Nina deserves better.”

Could the fight to get the movie finished and out to the masses finally be over? If this exclusive movie poster delivered to the (digital) doorsteps of Entertainment Weekly is any confirmation, Nina might really get to see the light of day, and sooner than we all thought:



According to EW, the biopic will finally hit theaters and VOD on April 22. Selma star David Oyelowo will co-star in the picture as Clifton Henderson, Simone’s assistant who would go on to become her manager and “love interest.” There’s been some additional controversy over that being the focus of the film because as Lisa Simone put it, “Clifton was gay so he could not have had an affair with my mother, which is what the film implies.”

Perhaps, the critical success of the Academy-Award nominated Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? may have opened up a lane that this film, thought to be shelved, could finally make its way to the masses through. But the question is, would you actually see Nina?

I mean, damn. We all ripped the movie to shreds years ago. And really, it was doomed to be ripped apart the minute Saldana was pegged as the star, replacing Mary J. Blige. Those who thoroughly appreciated Simone for more than just her music and who acknowledge the fact that she spoke about the impact her looks and being Black, in general, had on her career and life are the ones who have reacted to the film with words like “offended,” “sad,” calling it “a mockery.”  The rest have just been turned so off by how poor this so-called transformation appeared at first glimpse, they don’t know what to think.

But, to be honest, if this film came across the “Recommended for You” section of my Netflix account, I just might give it a chance. I will admit that I’m tempted to see Saldana try to put on her best portrayal of the music legend and Civil Rights icon. Can’t say I would pay for it, though…

Oh yeah, if you were wondering what Saldana had to say about this new information when it comes to the project, she didn’t share the exclusive poster on her social media. However, six days ago, she did share this bit of wisdom from the High Priestess of Soul via her Instagram account:


#NinaSimone #truth #alwayslove

A photo posted by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on



Do You Assume Colorism Is The Reason Light-Skinned Girls Make It?

December 28th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Do You Assume Colorism Is The Reason Light-Skinned Girls Make It

Credit: Brian To/

Many of you have heard the name Tinashe. And if you don’t know her by name, perhaps you’ve stumbled across her song “2 On.” The song and all the hard work she’d put in before it, worked wonders for her career. She was invited to open up for megastars Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry on their respective tours.

Still, that didn’t stop people from wondering what was so different and so special about Tinashe. In a recent interview with XO Necole, the up and coming artist expressed her frustrations about being written off when people don’t know her backstory.

XO Necole: One of the things that I read about you is ‘Why is she famous?’ It bugs me out. Do you ever feel it should be as clear as day as to why you are here in this industry and deserve this space or are you misunderstood?

Tinashe: “It is clear to me, but people don’t take the time to do the research to try to get to know [me]. They just kind of take a look at me and form a perception of what they think it is. They probably assume like ‘Oh, she’s just a cute girl, she’s probably given these opportunities because of how she looks.’ I don’t know. But of course it bothers me.

I have been working towards this for years. If you do just a little bit of research, just a very little bit, you see that I bring so much more to the table than just, ‘Oh, well I don’t understand why she’s here,’ because there is a reason why I’m here. I’ve worked exceptionally hard to be here on my own creative force. I’m a woman producer and a vocal producer. I’m writing my own music, I’m the creative vision behind my visuals, my live shows aren’t like any other live show. There are so many other elements that set me apart, but people don’t care sometimes… I think sometimes being a “lightskin girl” is part of it. I think being a Black girl in general and being a Black woman of color is part of it.” 

The interviewer even noted the level of support for someone like Zendaya and wondered why that she doesn’t receive the same benefit of the doubt.

“I think it comes from a place of there is only room for one. Or there is only room for two. Again, the way I see it, obviously, is if a Black girl is winning–whether she is lightskin, darkskin, or any type of shade in-between, that should be a win for the Black community, period. But it’s not necessarily always perceived as such. It’s like ‘Oh, she’s on the more lighter spectrum, so that is why she wins. 

For me, I feel like I still have to represent the [Black] community. That has been what has been my struggle because people do feel like there is only room for one. There is a Beyoncé, there is a Rihanna, there is Zendaya, there is a Jourdan Dunn. There is a Black girl in all of these positions and we don’t need another one.

It’s just kind of ridiculous because there are like a hundred blonde, white actresses and leading ladies. There are a hundred rappers that all virtually look the same, sound the same, and dress the same and no one cares. But for some reason, when it comes to young women, they want to pit them against each other. There can’t be room [for us all]. There can’t be five Black girls winning. It’s weird.”

I hear her…partially.

There is certainly room for more than one Black girl at the top. And there is no doubt that society and even the industry makes big money pitting women, particularly Black women, against each other. And I also agree that whenever a Black woman wins, whether she’s light or dark, it is a win for the community as a whole.

But to ignore the fact that lighter skinned women have a bit of an advantage, particularly in the entertainment industry, is either ignorance or naivety. And Tinashe need only look around to see that philosophy at work. The very women she named are all lighter complected. The actresses we see on television are all lighter complected. In fact, even roles that call for darker skinned people, both historical and fictional, like Nina Simone and Shana from “Jem and the Holograms” have been given to lighter skinned women when we know there are plenty of talented, darker skinned actresses who could handle these projects.

Actor Jesse Williams talked about the preference for his European features and how it has served him well in his career.

To pretend like it doesn’t exist only allows us to continue to sweep this global problem under the rug. Acknowledging the preference doesn’t take anything away from the talent and work ethic that Tinashe has. Truth be told, there is a darker skinned girl who we can liken to Tinashe…Sevyn Streeter who has also been working hard for years in the industry. And the things that are happening in her career are a reflection of that.

So, yes we can celebrate both Tinashe and Sevyn because Lord knows it’s not easy for any Black girl. And just like Tinashe argues that there’s room for more than one, there’s room for more than one shade or complexion as well.

What do you think of Tinashe’s comments? You can read her full interview at XO Necole. 

Nina Simone Does Deserve Better–From Zoe Saldana And Everyone Involved With Nina

November 11th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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RLJ Entertainment

RLJ Entertainment

The adage “all press is good press” couldn’t be further from the truth.  Just ask Zoe Saldana, star of the upcoming biopic Nina, about the late iconic singer and activist Nina Simone. Saldana’s involvement in the film, which over the years has been labeled “doomed,” “troubled” and “controversial,” has been widely criticized. The film has been mired by a petition to remove Saldana, a lawsuit from its director, Cynthia Mort, against the movie’s backers, and according to the actress in a recent interview with Latina, mismanagement.

In the telling interview, Saldana stated that “Nina deserves better,” and revealed that she hasn’t been able to listen to the singer’s music since working on the project.  But here’s where I get a little confused: “I’ll be able to listen to her and not feel so heartbroken,” said Saldana, “once I either finish this movie and release it, knowing that we did the best we could, or this movie goes away.”  Then in the next breath, Saldana claims that she’s still fighting for the film.

Color me confused.

Granted, a lot of factors about the movie and its release are completely out of Saldana’s control, but this take it or leave it stance seems oddly…familiar.

In fact, it’s the same stance she took when considering the role in the first place.  Saldana publicly admitted that she didn’t think she was the right actress to portray Simone.  She actually turned down the role for a year before changing her mind.  Then, when Simone fans and critics voiced their opinions on her casting, claiming the film’s producers should find a more authentic representation of Simone’s physical likeness, considering how much that informed the music she created and indeed the life she lived, Saldana was quick to brush off naysayers and defend her decision. Now she wouldn’t feel any type of way if the film were to “go away”?

Now, I am not the Blackness police, nor am I a believer in the tired my-Black-is-blacker-than-your-Black debate.  But I do understand the concern initially raised regarding Saldana’s involvement.  Why cast her when there are so many capable actresses who more closely resemble Simone’s likeness, and don’t need makeup or a prosthetic nose to achieve the look?  To me, the uproar spoke more to Hollywood’s penchant for casting Black actresses with fairer skin tones, and not Saldana’s actual acting ability.  Yet there was also a part of me that considered Saldana’s decision to play such an iconic woman brave.  To tackle a challenge you’re not sure you can handle because of your love for a figure, and with so many judging eyes on you, is rather commendable.  That doesn’t negate, however, my concern regarding Saldana’s integrity that, along with many other factors, seems to have compromised the movie. And that’s what’s actually important here.

Was Saldana allowed to change her mind and to take on the role of Nina Simone?  Absolutely.  And I don’t doubt that she put her all into her performance.  But the back and forth in this saga, this never-ending story about the film’s production that has overshadowed what it supposedly intends to do, is troubling to Simone’s legacy.  This is an opportunity to introduce Simone and her music to those unaware of her tremendous contributions to our musical, political and social landscape.  It couldn’t be more timely. That’s why I believe Saldana was right in saying that Simone deserves better.  That’s exactly why Lisa Simone Kelly, the singer’s daughter, fully supported the documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? She was an executive producer on the film and felt it authentically represented her mother’s life.  And unlike Nina, which utilized a composite character based on Simone’s manager Clifton Henderson and a former nurse, the documentary is factually-based.  Plus, it had Kelly’s full support and made use of her personal knowledge of her late mother.

I wonder if there would have been such an uproar if Mary J. Blige, who was initially attached to play Simone, was in the film.  Blige is an actual singer but one with little acting experience.  People probably would have questioned her ability to play such an iconic, troubling, rebel figure, and that could have rubbed fans the wrong way.  But the fact remains that Nina, which is supposed to be released in December, has already put a bad taste in the mouths of future viewers and made a name for itself that does Simone a disservice.  The only way to truly gauge its worth is to watch it for ourselves.  If Nina sees the light of day, I hope, for Simone’s legacy, it’s well worth the wait.

“Nina Deserves Better” Zoe Saldana Explains Why The Nina Simone Biopic Hasn’t Come Out Yet

November 5th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Image Source: Ealing Studios

Image Source: Ealing Studios

Have you been wondering what happened with the Nina Simone biopic, starring Zoe Saldana? We haven’t either. But in a recent interview with Latina, Saldana explained why it’s taken so long to get the project off the ground.

First, she explained how she prepared for the role of Simone:

“I read as much as I could and spoke to as many people who knew her, who interviewed her. I listened to her voice, to her tone. She was angry, and rightfully so. She was a black woman born ahead of her time. Her soul, her spirit was never able to accept or adapt to the heartbreaks that life was giving her. Those are means for insanity. She was bipolar, and at that time, very little was known about bipolar disorder. A lot of people were self-medicating through substances, and she was doing it with alcohol. I wanted to understand all those things, and see what that was going to bring out of me. I never wanted to judge her.”

And though she felt she had prepared herself for this complex character, there were many people who took issue with Saldana being cast as the darker complected Simone, particularly when she took great pains fighting for representation of Black women and Black people in society. Nina Simone’s daughter, who goes by the name Simone, even told Ebony, that she was sure issues of colorism stayed with her mother throughout her life, as she was told she was “too dark” and her nose was “too wide.” All of this makes the casting tragically ironic, particularly when the shots of Saldana in makeup are absolutely distracting.

In addition to the criticism, according to Salana, there are some behind the scenes issues that have kept the film from being released.

“I needed to walk her path. As a woman, it wasn’t difficult to empathize with another woman. But I needed to be very isolated. I moved out of my house for three months. I wasn’t really talking to anybody that I knew. I just needed to be all things Nina. It was so intense, and everything happened really fast. The people behind the project weren’t my cup of tea. The director was fine, but there was a lot of mismanagement, which is why we’re still here three years later. And I’m still trying to fight with everybody to get the movie finished. Nina deserves better.”

A part of me feels sorry for Saldana. It seems like she was surrounded by a large number of people who were, and apparently, still are unequipped to tell this story. And from the looks of things, it seems like the universe doesn’t even want this film to come out. In that regard, Nina Simone certainly does deserve better.

What do you think about the upcoming biopic? Do Saldana’s comments surprise you?

Nina Simone Biopic Slated For December Release

September 10th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Zoe Saldana

Michael Wright/WENN


The Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana will be released in theaters this year.

According to Variety, BET Founder Robert L. Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment announced Thursday that they have acquired the North American rights to Nina.

Award-winning actor, David Oyelowo, has been cast to play Simone’s manager, Clifton Henderson. As previously reported, the film was written and directed by Cynthia Mort.

“I had the special privilege early in my career of working with Ms. Simone while coordinating a performance for former D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy, and knowing first-hand of her major contribution to the soul and emotion of the Civil Rights Movement,” Johnson said at the Toronto Film Festival. “I look forward as I am sure many others will, to her story and legacy being made available by RLJ Entertainment to consumers on various media platforms in the coming months.”

Nina has been in the making for years, and the project has been at the center of controversy since it was announced that Saldana would be playing the singer. Many felt that casting directors made a huge mistake when giving the mother of two the role primarily because she looks nothing like Simone, and expressed that it was offensive for them to cast Saldana instead of simply seeking out a darker skinned actress. For a more convincing presentation, makeup artists had to darken Saldana’s skin. According to some reports, she was also given a prosthetic nose and false teeth.

The firm is planning for a December 2015 release.

Colorism In Casting: Is Skin Complexion Important To You When It Comes To Casting For Biopics?

August 19th, 2014 - By Raven Carter
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By Asha Boston

“So I’m not even being considered to audition for a role because I am ‘too dark’,” tweeted actress Imani Hakim. The former “Everybody Hates Chris” star took to Twitter in mid-July to express her disappointment with the entertainment industry, and to put a spotlight on the issue of colorism in casting. “To think I am almost a perfect match for this role but the slight difference in skin complexion is holding me back I AM mind blown!”

Colorism itself is definitely a mind-blowing concept that continuously shows itself in pop culture. We’ve seen this troubling issue play out in the recent casting controversy for the NWA biopic.  Black women and women in general were ranked in alphabetical order based on their features. Women of a lighter complexion were given a B rating while “poor, not in good shape” African-American women of a “medium to dark skin tone” were ranked with a D in the search for extras for the biopic.

Just earlier this month we saw a plethora of Aaliyah and Missy Elliot fans speak out on their disappointment with the casting of Chattrisse Dolabaille (who is of a lighter complexion with curly hair) as Missy Elliott in the upcoming Aaliyah biopic. While there wasn’t much research done or commentary shared on her acting ability, the public made it clear that it will take more than a garbage bag jumpsuit and some finger waves to get Dolabaille anywhere near the likeness of Elliott. It took Black Twitter no time to conjure up the hashtag #LifetimeCastings, which poked fun at the idea of actors being cast as notable figures they look nothing like. As ridiculous of an idea as it may seem for Justin Bieber to play R. Kelly or Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen to play Mary Mary, the trending topic proved that Elliott fans felt somewhat slighted, and moviegoers in general found the casting choice to be a highly questionable one. What’s the excuse for not being able to find an equally talented actress of a darker complexion to take on the role?

This same question was asked in 2012 with the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in the biopic Nina. Lisa Simone Kelly, daughter of the late singer/songwriter/pianist expressed her disapproval with Saldana’s casting in an article published for the New York Times:

“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.”

After a slew of criticism came her way and was aimed at the production as a whole, Saldana opened up about her commitment to the role.

“Just like everybody else I feel very strongly about Nina Simone, and that (this) was a story that needed to be told.

I do believe that if everybody had more information about how this all came to be, it might help. But then again, I’m not here to get the acceptance of people. I’m here to be an artist first.”

A similar criticism about colorism and the importance of skin complexion in casting occurred when Christian Bale was chosen to play Moses, and Joel Edgerton to play Rhamses in the upcoming film, Exodus: Gods and Kings. It popped up again when Jacqueline Fleming was chosen to play Harriet Tubman, and side-eyes were given when Aurora Perrineau was pegged to play Shana in new Jem and the Holograms film. But sometimes in casting, especially for men, complexion differences between an actor and the public figure they are portraying don’t hurt a film. Think of the casting of Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela in A Long Walk to Freedom. While his casting raised eyebrows because of his lack of physical similarities with Mandela, his portrayal of the man was applauded, and earned him a Golden Globe nomination. But for the most part, such casting choices aren’t applauded, but rather, balked at. It’s clear that many casting decisions are made in the best interest of helping a film make money, but in the process of doing that, the image of iconic figures are being carelessly altered for a studio’s convenience.

But what are your thoughts? Do you think that it’s important to give roles to people who actually look like the person they’re hoping to portray when it comes to skin complexion?

‘I Don’t Want To Need Things… I Don’t Need Anybody:’ Zoe Saldana Tells ‘Latina’ A Man Is Not A Necessity

April 3rd, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Colombiana actress Zoe Saldana looks stunningly fabulous on the May 2013 cover of Latina Magazine. Her brightly colored, bold ensemble seems quite fitting for the occasion, as Ms. Saldana comes off rather audacious and a tad bit feisty in her interview. The 34-year-old Star Trek Into Darkness star touched on everything from her alleged mental breakdown to the reoccurring discussion of why she should not have been cast to play Nina Simone in the forthcoming biopic. Peep some of what she had to say below.

On her mental meltdown following filming for Avatar:

“That was completely blown out of proportion. That was so exaggerated and so ridiculous. It’s no different than what a child does after you’ve had a birthday party for a child. The child has been so stimulated by everybody, in every direction, consistently, you feel depleted. You use so much serotonin that you feel, not empty, but you feel a little tired and depleted and you have to fill your well of energy and of happiness and you have to pay attention to you. That downtime was very welcoming and very beautiful, but it wasn’t like I got f****** depressed and I just wouldn’t get out of bed. That has never happened to me! I hate when you say something and then it’s like, ay dios mio…”

On whether or not she was affected by the Nina Simone Controversy: 

“Yes, of course. I’m not made of metal. Things will resonate in you and they will move you whether good or bad, but you can’t let that define who you are and you can’t let that dictate the path that you’re going to take in your life. The reality is that nobody knows the story as to why this collaboration came to be—nobody knows the full story—and at the end of the day all I’m going to say is that every person that is a part of this project came together for no other reason than the unconditional love for Nina Simone’s music, her persona, her life, what she did, what she left for us, what her music still continues to do not only to women, but to Americans, and African Americans, and also people of color, just everything. On all spectrums, Nina Simone’s story is worth telling and with the members that it came to be, like it’s just…you have to give it a chance…Watch it and then make up your mind. I’m happy that we all held together and we went for it. No regrets.”

On growing up “color-blind:”

“I grew up in Queens and the Dominican Republic. It wasn’t easy, s*** was going on. But the kind of world that we had indoors, that my mom created for us, makes more sense to this day than what is out there. I would come home from school and go, ‘Mami, what am I? You know, cause I’m getting all kinds of things and people are mean.’ And Mami would look at me and go, ‘You’re Zoe.’ And I’d go, ‘I know, Mami, but what am I?’ and she would look at me and say, ‘You’re my daughter, your grandma’s granddaughter, you’re Zoe.’ My mom wouldn’t go, ‘tu eres una mujer de color [you are a woman of color] and always remember it, this world is going to be rough.’ My mom never f****** told us that, why would she? Why would she stop my flight before I even take off?”

On not needing a man:

“I don’t want to need things. I need water, you know what I’m saying? I need to exercise, I need to eat. To be with a man, should be a want. I don’t need anybody. And the people that I do need are just family, tu entiendes [you understand]? But a man is something that I want, I want be with a partner, because this partner is going to add or I’m going to add to this partner.”


Turn the page for more fabulous flicks from Zoe’s colorful photoshoot.

Zoe Saldana Isn’t Allowing Your Opinions About The Nina Simone Biopic To Deter Her, Says She’s Doing It For Her ‘People’

February 27th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Actress Zoe Saldana has been forced to bear the brunt of much criticism since it was announced that she was the actress selected to play iconic singer Nina Simone  in the long-awaited motion picture about her life. Fans and celebrities alike have publicly voiced their disapproval of Zoe assuming the role of the singer, especially when photos of the actress on the movie set, all dressed up (and painted up) in her Nina costume surfaced.

“So today I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone… and I think they are ridiculous! Yes there should be a movie made, and 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. THAT ASIDE for a second, this just looks WEIRD, it looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose … REALLY?!!!! DOES NOT THE ONE NINA SIMONE’S LEGACY DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS?” singer India Arie expressed.

While public frustration can certainly be understood, Zoe has been hired to play the role of Nina Simone and she still has a job to do, whether we like it or not. Hip Hollywood recently caught up with the actress to discuss the intense level of criticism that she has received for her role in the biopic. Here’s what she had to say:

“The reality is what keeps me focused and what kept me from I guess getting stressed or being hurt by the comments is that I’m doing it for my sisters. I’m doing it for my brothers. I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me. So that is my truth and that set me free. You know, I can only rely on that and maintain as much humility as possible so that when I have to face the world and I have to then give the movie to the world to see and share it with them, that if it comes back in a negative fashion or positive, I’m gonna keep my chin up because that’s who I am and that’s who I’ll be and Nina was like that too. So I did it all out of love, out of love for Nina, out of love for my people and who I am and my pride of being Black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman and that’s my truth.”

What are your thoughts on Zoe’s response? Does she make valid points or did she totally miss the reason why people are upset?

You can check out a clip of Zoe’s interview on the next page.