Zoe Saldana addresses Nina Simone biopic controversy
05:00 AM, Feb 27, 2013
Actress Zoe Saldana is not shying away from the backlash stemming from her role as famed jazz singer Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic about the star, who died in 2003.
Since the casting was announced last year and photos surfaced of Saldana in an Afro wig and darkened makeup, Simone fans and even the singer’s daughter have been vocal about their belief that Saldana was miscast. There was even a petition posted on Change.org last fall urging the film’s producers to replace the Avatar star with an actress who more closely resembled Simone.
Yet Saldana, who is black and Latina, says she knows she’s right for the part and was excited to play a woman she admires.
“The reality is what keeps me focused, and what kept me from getting stressed or being hurt by the comments is that I’m doing it for my sisters, I’m doing it for my brothers and I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that,” she told Hip Hollywood in a video interview.
“I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me, so that is my truth and that is what set me free. I can only rely on that and maintain as much humility as possible so that when I have to face the world and we have to then give the movie to the world to see … that if it comes back … in a negative fashion or a positive, I’m going to keep my chin up. Because that’s who I am and that’s who I’ll be, and Nina was like that, too. 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 a black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman. That’s my truth.”
Nina is slated to be released later this year.