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Zoe Saldana Responds To "Nina" Blacklash, Says She's Playing Nina Simone "Out Of Love"

 photo zoesssd.jpeg

It's been a long time coming and Zoe Saldana is now speaking out to naysayers about her decision to take on the role of Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic.  Check out what she had to say inside....

There have been many outspoken ciritcs and fans who have criticized the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in an upcoming movie about the late singer's life.  One of the most vocal critics was Nina Simone's daughter, Simone, who revealed that she had been completely shut out of the movie and had no involvment at all.  

During an inteview with Hip Hollywood, Zoe spoke her piece about the criticism saying, 

”What kept me from getting stressed and being hurt by the negative comments is 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.”

“I did it all for love. Out of love for Nina, 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.”

It sure seems like Zoe is COMMITED to playing the role and that's all you can ask of an actress.  Maybe she will blow audiences away.  However, we still feel some kind of way about her playing the role in what some could call "black face" (pictured above on the set). 


Watch the interview here:




Things have not changed in

Things have not changed in Hollywood! Rita Hayworth was cast in a role Lena Horne was suposed to get over 30 years ago and they put her in blackface. Same shit! If Nina Simone's family wasn't even consulted, there is obviously a problem.
LBA1's picture

Viola Davis! Viola Davis!

Viola Davis! Viola Davis! Viola Davis. Talented, older, already dark skinned, Thespian. I loves Zoe Saldana. Lord Knows I do, but this is some Bull shit.
nippsie's picture

That was a nice lil sound

That was a nice lil sound bite! I will reserve my criticism until I see the film! I think Kerry Washington woulda MURDERED that role but wateva!
tori's picture

Kerry is da flav'a but Kerry

Kerry is da flav'a but Kerry can't have ALL the black female roles in H-Wood babe... other beautiful women of color gotta eat too.
RO's picture

I refuse to cosign this mess.

I refuse to cosign this mess. PERIOD. Ugh!
joy in L.A's picture

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Diana C. Hurley's picture

The producers probably wanted

The producers probably wanted a recognizable name to draw in a broad audience and Zoe saw this part as another acting job to sink her teeth into (for the check and accolades). I understand the frustration about having to darken her and how other dark skin actresses could have fit the bill, but the casting department has too look beyond that when producers put their money in for a movie. The bottom line is, it's all about the money and who can bring people in the seats. Guess they felt Zoe could do that in spite of the atrocious makeup (which is really not that shocking). Transforming actors to look different is done constantly in Hollywood, just when it's blackface, they have to tread lightly.
TrueT's picture

Out Of Love? Chile

Out Of Love? Chile Please...Out Of The Love Of Money Maybe. Gurl You And Foolin Nobody. Saddown!
Keyths'Girl's picture

You know that's right!!

You know that's right!!
LBA1's picture

Ultimately its about box

Ultimately its about box office receipts. Casting a lead that creates excitement and enthusiasm, a buzz. She has participated in the No1 grossing picture of all time , her acting is strong and additionally paid her dues. Why not support or better yet ;wait until the film is released then cast judgement?

Yea I can agree w/being an

Yea I can agree w/being an alright actor but at the same time I'm not unaware of the race card being played at her convenience, Which btw is a fine line too walk for such a PRO black role! Now For some or most, it can appear like an inhibited contradiction and seen as a Mockery toward realism, especially if u Lookin a lil' deeper than just ethnicity!
Like Really's picture

Girl bye!.. Zoe has made it

Girl bye!.. Zoe has made it clear many times what she is and its aint black!
Like Really's picture

She just said in her

She just said in her statement that she is black - she has always said she is a black latina. If you guys haven't noticed, she has always been black, and always will be. The ignorance and pure idiocy up in here is dumbfounding. Clearly there's many of us that still aren't comfortable and secure in their own skin to celebrate the rainbow that is blackness. I side with Zoe; the insecurities of others about their blackness should not (and clearly will not) define her identity or her beliefs.
memoirs.of.a.keisha's picture

Clearly, memoirsof a keisha,

Clearly, memoirsof a keisha, you did not do your research. The reservations people have about Zoe Saldana are from her PAST. I've followed her career from the very beginnings when she was most popular for her role in Crossroads -- that Britney Spears movie. Zoe has repeatedly said in many interviews that she isn't black but LATINA. I specifically recall her making this distinction in Latina magazine. Just b/c you just are up on game reading what she says now doesn't mean people forget. When that movie with Jeremy Piven & Columbus Short came out, she still stressed the LATINA part of her ethnic background on George Lopez show when they promoted it. Zoe is the ignorant one for only just now realizing that you are capable of being both. She only now claims that she is black for support of the black community. The insecurity about being black is Zoe's, not anyone else's. (And this is coming from someone who is consistently mistaken for EVERY damn ethnicity/nationality under the sun.)
imjussaying's picture

Lol..Sweetie take off your

Lol..Sweetie take off your blinders, Like Really don't give a Dam what race she states for $$$! The only thing u've made CLEAR, is a clueless person w/ the audacity to call somebody an idiot smdh but yet not smart enough to see, she's nowhere near secure in her own fucking skin! Now I bid u adieu frm my reply! Smhlol..*sigh
Like Really's picture

The blatant lies in some of

The blatant lies in some of these comments is absurd; Zoe is black, she is a black latina. Period. While she may have light brown skin, she is still brown. Nina Simone was certainly not the darkest black person I've ever seen and to me she was a chocolate brown. The upset over a CAPABLE, strong, black actress being cast in this movie is obviously about a lot more than many of you are owning up to. The trauma and pain in the history of the battle amongst "light" skinned and "dark" skinned black people, or those with "good" hair and "good noses", etc. is obviously still very real. That's what this is really about and it's quite depressing and disappointing in 2013.
memoirs.of.a.keisha's picture

whatever. i vote beyonce

whatever. i vote beyonce


Reign's picture

If you have to DARKEN an

If you have to DARKEN an actress's skin, you have the wrong actress!! There are many many actress who could have been given this role with little fuss. GTFOH!!
goeze's picture

Granted I dont like this

Granted I dont like this bitch Zoe, but if Beyonce had the role she will be in black face also, so Im not quite understanding the negative feed back...not all people of color have the same skin tone...yalll r so ignorant.......

Zoe obviously needs to

Zoe obviously needs to research a couple of chapters in Black History because her arrogance and ignorance about this backlash is appalling. It's bad casting all around and has nothing to do with the fact that she isn't African American. Who cares what shade or what side she chooses to be on any given day? She fills many minority slots...well good for fucking her!!!She looks a damn fool in that getup and is making a mockery out of the Afro!!! What part of "you don't look, feel, sound anything close to what the Essence of Nina Simone was" don't you get? Somebody get this bish some Theraflu cause her nignorance is bone deep. Zoe I really wanted to like you but all think all that white peen you done digested got you tripping!!! I bet if you asked your ex-boo Bradley Cooper his opinion he wouldn't cosign this disaster!!!!
Marketing Gimmicks's picture

Agreed. It's about bad

Agreed. It's about bad casting. Zoe playing Nina Simone is lacking Tisha Campbell (From Martin) playing Patti LaBelle.
sgrho74's picture

Clap Clap Clap, well

Clap Clap Clap, well spoken!!!! If it were for "her people" as she says, she would have Nina's daughter's approval. This is how our legacy gets distorted and stolen. Nina is Black History, she deserves the utmost respect and Zoe being all darkened up is ridiculous beyond words.
Reign's picture

I remember when Zoe was

I remember when Zoe was interviewed about Drumline and the interviewer thought she was Afr Am and asked her if she went to an HBCU. She quickly corrected him and said she is Puerto Rican. Did she turn Afro-Latina to justify taking Afr Am roles that should go to Afr Am actresses (of which there are plenty with loads of talent). Whatever Zoe!
Denise2007's picture

Zoe is an excellent actress.

Zoe is an excellent actress. Congrats to her for the role. Black people need to start looking outside the box. For the people who aren't going to support this movie, you will make it even more difficult for "black" movies in the future. What about the rest of the cast? And not all singers can act....
TheMrs's picture

Are we all looking at the

Are we all looking at the same pictures? This chick is in straight-up BLACK FACE!!! I'm not knocking her talent, but if image doesn't matter then they can cast Gabourey Sidibe in the next Elizabeth Taylor biopic. C'mon son, this is NOT a good look! How many times have you heard casting directors saying things like we want black, but not too black. And now they're doing it for a role where the main character is a dark-skinned woman. They would rather spend hours putting this girl in friggin BLACK-FACE than cast a dark-skinned actress to play the role. It's crazy to me that some of ya'll don't have a problem with that!
DesignDiva's picture

I'm sorry but most of the

I'm sorry but most of the time, casting agents are looking for people who LOOK like the person they're playing and hope they have the talent as well. Everytime a child of a soap opera star is cast, they ALWAYS look like they can be their REAL CHILD. I hope Zoe does a good job.
Happy Lady's picture

I agree that other actresses

I agree that other actresses may look more like Nina in terms of skin tone, but Zoe is a good actress, so I'm sure she will play the part well. I'm just bothered by her makeup, which according to the pics we've seen, looks horrible.
PinkyDaGoddess's picture

Epic fail on all levels

Epic fail on all levels

I don't get it. Zoe has

I don't get it. Zoe has called herself a black woman and Afro-Latina many times. What publications or sites are y'all reading? She is clearly a black woman and deserves to play Nina just like any other black woman. Many of the Hollywood sisters would have to wear darker makeup to play Nina.....Sanaa, Taraji, even Nia Long all would have had to wear dark makeup to look like her. So the bashing of this woman with unfound claims that she hates her blackness and should not play Nina is ridiculous. I hope she rocks the heck out of this role.
MsPrissyDiva's picture

Then I would take issue w/any

Then I would take issue w/any of the above ladies being cast for this role as well. Not only should your acting convey a message but so should your look. Denzel looked the part for Malcolm X. Will Smith for Muhammed Ali. Zoe? No. Just like Halle shouldn't be cast as Aretha, (nor...Gabourey Sidibe). Visuals are important.
sista2sista's picture

I agree! It amazes me that

I agree! It amazes me that visuals all of a sudden don't matter when it comes to playing a dark skinned African American. Then all of a sudden any skin type is fine. Thus Hollywood "black faces" a self-identified latina for the role. While at the same time, Hollywood tells untold numbers of real brown hued women that they are too dark, too broad nosed, too big lipped, for parts. Many of us are frustrated by the casting of Zoe Saldana because it's such a rarity that a part actually becomes available that needs a real woman of color! And this is what happens. SMH. I won't be seeing this. I love Nina Simone too much to settle for this white wash.
The Real Thing's picture

Co-SIGN 100%!!!

Co-SIGN 100%!!!
DesignDiva's picture

Sorry Zoe love is not enough.

Sorry Zoe love is not enough.
TeaNicole's picture

I like Zoe however, I think

I like Zoe however, I think getting Lauren Hill would have been a better choice. Besides Lauren can act, sing and could use some cash right now. IJS
Chi town chick's picture

Lauryn Hill would have been a

Lauryn Hill would have been a good "visual" casting choice, however she is not reliable.
TheMrs's picture

excellent pick

excellent pick
sista2sista's picture

Zoe is that Bitch!!! & when

Zoe is that Bitch!!! & when that film is released... I'm in da build'n son!!! B'More represent. "Old Baltimore ain't it hard just to live" (Nina Simone) RIP, the spirit chose Zoe so It Will Be.
RO's picture

Im supportive of all of those

Im supportive of all of those doing their thing but this outfit they have put her in looks ridiculous... I guess anyone that is a minority can connect with this but can you imagine Jo Lo doing this role or Viola Davis playing the role of Elizabeth Taylor, everyone would judge and laugh their asses off even if it was the performance of a lifetime... all that to say, this film won't do well because people will be judging the costume vs the performance. Its just the world we live in #smh

To be totally honest I don't

To be totally honest I don't know enough about Nina Simone to be interested in anything about this bio flick. I would not go see it if Regina King, Nia Long or Mary J had been cast even though all 3 would have been a better choice. Mary J has that hard rough look like Nina.
Somerknight's picture

Child boo, gurl, you did this

Child boo, gurl, you did this role for the LOVE of a CHECK! Ya'll know damn well that this chick was not checkin for Nina Simone before she signed on to do this movie. If you'd asked her who Nina Simone was, she would have probably said, "I totally love her! I'm like, wearing her right now." I just do see the need to put an actress in blackface when we have plenty of dark-skinned OSCAR-NOMINATED actresses (hello? Viola Davis?) who would have been perfect for the role. I'm tired of Hollywood trying to lighten us up and define what is beautiful in our community. Not all of us HAVE or WANT lily-white skin and straight hair! ALL shades of black are beautiful!
DesignDiva's picture

Girl, you and Zoe gotta be

Girl, you and Zoe gotta be hella tight to know that she's lying about being a fan of Nina. Must be nice!
PinkyDaGoddess's picture

Just because you've heard a

Just because you've heard a couple of Nina Simone songs does NOT make you a fan. Nothing about this girl says Nina Simone fan. Ya'll that know what I'm talking about KNOW what I'm talking about!
DesignDiva's picture

None of us know who or what

None of us know who or what Zoe is genuinely a fan of. Period. We're not having educated, productive discussions when people are basing their opinions on speculation and imagination - which is all I see here. She says she's a fan and no one in this forum can definitively state otherwise. Ridiculous.
memoirs.of.a.keisha's picture

I'm with you on this one!

I'm with you on this one!
Ms.Thangfromthe5thflr's picture

I'm an immigrant and I felt

I'm an immigrant and I felt more connected to being Jamaican than being African-American or Black because I never defined myself as a color until other people did. So I can see her identifying with being Hispanic more than black. Hispanic people are very proud of their heritage. And people wear make-up and prosthetic's to play roles. Nobody said anything when Robert Downey Jr. did BLACK FACE in Tropic Thunder. He was hilarious by the way. I'm saying why the double standard? But why she got to claim Black or African American, clearly she is.

This is bullshit. First

This is bullshit. First people wanted her to say she was black, but the second she lands the role of a black woman, everyone is up in arms and dissecting her ethnicity. None of us know the talent pool they were choosing from, and even if every black actress in Hollywood auditioned for the part, maybe they just didn't do it justice. Damn shame that people can't be happy for others.

Thank you. So many negative

Thank you. So many negative and unhappy beings in this universe. They're unhappy, so it makes them feel better by being negative.
Iridescent One's picture

Wow, the ignorance among

Wow, the ignorance among Americans is so interesting. I'd like to know what the hell do you do in school. Draw houses and trees till you graduate? Cause you seem not to know shit about anything. Latino is NOT a race. We are white, black, brown, asian etc. Just like American is not a race. There are Americans of all races. Zoe Saldaña is a lightskinned black latina (which we would call mulata) who spent most of her life in the US, so she is black, latina and american, just like she said.
Shaniqua's picture

White Hollywood strikes

White Hollywood strikes again. Nina Simone would be to black to play herself in Hollywood. The black-face, wig....I just can't. I will pass on this movie.
ThatsAFact's picture

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