A forthcoming biopic about Nina Simone, an American singer songwriter and civil rights activist, has generated a lot of controversy over its casting. American actress Zoe Saldana has been cast as Nina Simone and in the trailer she is presented in black face and a nose prosthetic. Though Saldana is of Puerto descent, she identifies herself as “half black and half Latina.”
Nina Simone was a musical icon in the late 1960’s, a time where her physical attributes were dismissed. ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black” a song dedicated to the potential of black men and women who haven’t been acknowledged.
Comments made on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter questioned why black actresses with a dark skin complexion were not considered to authentically play this role, like Lupita Nyong’o for example . “Completely insulting” these were one of the comments made by a social media user on the subject.
Nina Simone’s daughter took to Twitter saying, “My mum was raised in a time where she was told her skin was too dark and her nose too wide. Appearance wise this was not the best choice.” Saldana responded with a simple statement saying, “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me, no fear, i mean literally no fear, #NinaSimone.”
Although people didn’t focus on Saldana’s acting ability, however fans are not convinced she is the right person to represent the nuances of life as a dark skinned black woman.
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By Stella Akinwumi