All Articles Tagged "nina simone"
“I Can’t Stop To Think About Who Thinks Me To Be Black Enough Or Not Black Enough”: Zoe Saldana On Playing Nina Simone And Being Latina
“It’s one of the scariest projects I’ve ever been involved with because it was about an iconic figure, and there were so many political [issues] around it from the beginning, but I really wanted it to be a love song to Nina Simone and I wanted it to just come from a place of absolute love.”
“I can’t stop to think about who thinks me to be black enough or not black enough. I know who I am. I like who I am. And I’m not going to explain who I am. I’ve always been like that—I was raised to be that way.”Zaldana, of Puerto Rican and Dominican background, says she’s used to people criticizing and bullying her for how she is and what she looks like, and faced this most when she was a child living in the Dominican Republic. She had to move there with her mother and sisters after her father passed away. But she says that after she realized most people only attack others because they’re fearful, she became “absolutely fearless:”
“It was culture shock at first. Kids are going to poke at whatever is foreign to them, and here we come: these three girls speaking English. We’re also very intelligent and kind of sassy, and we were going to a very prestigious private school and we were one of the least fortunate families. Kids tend to be a little cruel to what they don’t know. But even though throughout those years we kind of suffered because we got bullied, as soon as we left we just became these forces. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it was not going to kill us, trust me! I’ve been called everything, I’ve been told everything. And yet the moment you realize they were coming from a place of complete fear because they knew that you were the one who was going to get away, you’re free.”She calls it fearless, others have called it “arrogance.” But whatever Saldana is, she’s winning in Hollywood. Check out her full interview over at Ocean Drive’s website. What do you make of her statements, and do you plan to see Nina?
Lisa Simone Kelly, born Lisa Celeste Shroud, has always been vocal and done what she can to protect her mother’s image, but sources claim the same can’t be said about protecting Nina Simone’s money.
According to TMZ, the daughter of the late singer is being accused of taking more than $2 million from her mother’s estate and using it for a range of things, including putting some money into an account for a company Ms. Kelly owns. The California Attorney General says money from Simone’s estate was supposed to go to fund music schools in South Africa, Ghana and Liberia, according to Simone’s wishes. However, they say that hasn’t happened because Kelly, who is the trustee of her mother’s estate, giving her access to all of Simone’s money, has used the money for other things. The biggest violation according to the Attorney General includes using $1.5 million to put into her own separate business. According to TMZ, the California Attorney General “is now demanding an accounting of funds — which could result in criminal action.” The attorney general also reportedly wants Kelly to step down from her post as trustee of the legendary soul singer’s estate because of such allegations against her.
Kelly is a singer/songwriter who was very vocal with her disappointment that Zoe Saldana was cast to play her mother in the upcoming Nina Simone biopic. The role was originally supposed to be given to Mary J. Blige (she stepped down due to scheduling issues), and Kelly said she would have preferred to see Viola Davis or Kimberly Elise take on her mother’s image. Hopefully Kelly will respond to such accusations because we’re hoping that they’re not true. We will keep you posted on any responses she gives.
Even in death, stars are at risk of being ripped off by major corporations. Last week we told you that the mother of slain rapper Tupac, Afeni Shakur, will be dragging eOne Music to court for allegedly failing to pay royalties to her son’s estate for his posthumous album, Beginnings The Lost Tapes: 1980 – 1991. The family of Nina Simone may also be in court soon, fighting to defend the High Priestess of Soul’s estate.
TMZ is reporting that Nina’s family is suing Taiwanese smart phone manufacturer, HTC, for $1 million. According to filed court documents, the corporation used the instrumental from Nina’s 1965 hit, “Sinnerman,” for one of their “You” campaign television commercials, without obtaining the rights to do so.
HTC has yet to comment on the copyright infringement suit, but it doesn’t really seem like there’s much that they could really say at this point. The proof seems to be in the pudding. As usual, we will continue to keep you posted as this story develops.
Check out the commercial below. What are your thoughts on the family’s lawsuit?
There have been many times when a biopic was made and you wondered how a particular actor got the lead role. You know, you said something like,”they look nothing alike” or “they can’t even act,” that’s why if we could be in the director’s chair these would be our 15 actor picks for biopics.
Zoe Saldana as Phylicia Rashad
Zoe Saldana sure doesn’t look like Nina Simone, but if a director ever casts for a young Phylicia Rashad—she’s it! No word that there is a biopic on Mrs. Cosby, but it would be great to see. Phylicia Rashad’s poise and elegance can surely be pulled off by Zoe.
Are you looking for the silverscreen to give you more heroes/heroines of color? More stories about the black experience in America and not a whitewashed version of how we think and act? I know I am.
Black America has been conditioned to take what few images we can get of ourselves when it comes to entertainment. While we’ve had our onscreen triumphs outside of being portrayed as maids, thugs and wh*res – there is still an empty, canyon-like space where the broader range of our stories could and should be told. Well, black independent filmmakers are slowly but surely filling that space through Kickstarter campaigns and grassroots fundraising for the projects Hollywood repeatedly dismisses as irrelevant and unimportant.
The great news is that we don’t have to sit and wait for “somebody” to do “something.” These filmmakers are putting in the work and turning out stellar projects for our viewing pleasure, discussion and social action. And one of the greatest things about this indie movement is that many of these artists are accomplished black women.
With growing YouTube channels, film festival award-winning projects, Oscar-nominated films – there are a host of black women filmmakers who are working their gifts and talents to ensure that the span of black experiences are brought to screen in truth.
Here are six indie filmmakers/producers that you should keep your eyes open for.
Cynthia Mort, Director of “Nina,” Starring Zoe Saldana, Says People Should Give The Movie A Chance Before Bashing It
“All I can say is, though it did sting for a bit, that a community that you feel most identified with, would have such a negative backlash and you are at the epicenter of it all, it was very disappointing. But at the same time too, it is understandable. All I can say is the people that came together to do Nina, came together out of love for Nina and that will never be wrong, and I will always stand behind that.”Another person standing behind the film is the director of Nina, Cynthia Mort. And while she claims that she’s not surprised by the backlash, in an interview with theGrio, she says she’s just bothered that people wouldn’t wait to see the film first before judging it so harshly based on casting:
But she says she is okay with folks questioning the casting, it’s only natural:“This was a creative endeavor, and to judge and to hijack a creative endeavor before it’s finished is the only thing I take any issue with. When it’s done you can say whatever you want.”
“It’s fine. They should. Nina was about how you feel. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say she was about some of the stuff that’s going on, but that’s not my business.”But in her opinion, Zoe is the best choice:
“Zoe’s life vision is very clear, and very strong and very direct. She’s a fantastic actress. She’s brave. She’s courageous and she’s super-talented. She’s astonishing in all of her films, which I don’t say lightly. I think Zoe embodies a lot of the characteristics [that] I was looking for. She’s compelling and she’s fierce and she’s strong and she pulls us in the way Nina’s music pulls us in. You know what? That’s hard to come by.” What everyone has to remember is that ‘Four Women,’ which everyone has to remember is one of [Nina’s] most powerful songs, is about different shades of four different women.”Also interviewed about the film for the same article was executive producer Gene Kirkwood (previously behind Get Rich or Die Tryin’), and he believes people are going to have something to say about everything, but no press is truly bad press:
“People don’t like anything. If Jesus Christ walked in here right now, they’d say, ‘Great carpenter, but terrible guy.’ They’ll find something about everything. There’s nothing positive until they see it. Diana Ross was as close to Billie Holiday as you can get, but when [Lady Sings the Blues] came out, they were worried about that[.] With Rocky they said, ‘Who wants to see a fight movie?’ You had to get them in there. There was only one fight in the whole movie. The picture is eventually going to have to make its own track no matter what. But I think every knock is a boost, as long as they’re talking about it.”Interesting point. Folks had a lot to say about Django, but we see how well that did and was received. But check out her full interview with theGrio and let us know what you think of her comments on the Nina backlash.
Don’t Knock It Until You See It: Celebs Who Were Side-Eyed For Biopics Because They Didn’t “Look” The Part
Before Zoe Saldana signed on to play Nina Simone, or Idris Elba said he would try his hand at doing Nelson Mandela, or even before there was any kind of talk of Lenny Kravitz playing Marvin Gaye (which he eventually changed his mind about), actors were getting major side-eyes from movie fans and critics alike for trying to portray certain people on-screen. It’s always going to be something, and it has always been something for people to complain about: She’s too light, she’s not the same culture as that person, he’s not light enough, he’s not cool enough. People are often shut down by folks before there’s a trailer, a scene–anything to judge by. But as these actors went on to prove (some didn’t though), talent can trump a lot of that criticism. Here are nine people who initially were counted out from their biopic roles but ended up either killing it, or embarrassing themselves.
Tags:Angela Bassett as Tina Turner, Anthony Mackie as Tupac, backlash for biopics, Beyonce as Etta James, biopics, Denzel Washington as Malcolm X, Don Cheadle as Sammy Davis Jr, Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, Idris Elba, JLo as Selena, Naturi Naughton as Lil Kim, Nelson Mandela, nina simone, Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana Talks About Being Tired Of Discussing Her Ethnicity, The Nina Simone Backlash And Bisexuality
Zoe Saldana Isn’t Allowing Your Opinions About The Nina Simone Biopic To Deter Her, Says She’s Doing It For Her ‘People’
“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:
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.“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.”