Earlier last year, news broke of Zoe Saldana being chosen to play the role of jazz legend and activist, Nina Simone. Saldana, who is of African American and Dominican heritage, has finally spoken out about her choice to take the role. In an interview with Hip Hollywood the actress said, “I guess what kept me from being hurt by the negative comments was that I’m doing it for my sisters and my brothers, and I don’t care who tells me I’m not this or I’m not that. I know who I am, and I know what Nina Simone means to me.” She went on to say. “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.”
Like every other actress out there, it is true that you are only good and relevant as your last role, but Saldana has a voice in this industry that many females do not. Her acting credits have agents, directors, and producers call her for parts. So it is safe to say that she is not struggling to get parts. It is also safe to say that she has the option of turning down roles that she does not fit the mold of.
While it is understandable that she would be honored to play the role of someone like Nina Simone, Simone was of a darker hue than Saldana and fought tirelessly for the rights all women, especially black women of a darker persuasion. During the civil rights movement she tireless used her music to influences the masses, with songs like “Mississippi G-dd**”, “Four Women”, To Be Young Gifted And Black” , and many others. The outrage of fellow actors and fans is not all together directed towards Zoe Saldana but more towards the producers of this film, who have totally disregarded the legacy of Simone and the wishes of her family. I
If you have seen recent pictures of Saldana , on set, with a prosthetic nose and her skin darkened, you would understand why it is a direct slap in the face to the legacy of Simone and why Saldana should be offended by the director’s choice to basically put her in blackface. If you have to do all of that, then why not hire someone who actually fits the mode? It is apparent that Hollywood still has a problem with viewing dark women as beautiful.
Asa Lovechild is an accomplished actress and singer out of New York City.