I must admit, the only thing I knew about Nina Simone came from a Lauryn Hill song. Other than that, I had known nothing about Nina Simone.
So when “Avatar” actress, Zoe Saldana announced that she would be portraying Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic; I didn’t give it a second thought. Social Media, on the other hand, was outraged by the news. So, I decided to see what all the anger was about. I did my research, and now I have a better understanding of what’s behind all the outrage.
Let me see, if I can explain. Nina Simone was not your average beauty queen. In fact, she was often told her nose was too wide, and her skin was too dark. You see, Nina Simone had prominent African features that she was proud of, and she used that as the basis of her music. Nina Simone used her lyrics to promote what she considered to be true black beauty.
Normally, it wouldn’t matter if the actress or actor didn’t resemble the person they were portraying. Since we are talking about Nina Simone looks matter 100 percent. Especially since her whole career was centered around her looks.
At first, people were outraged when Ms. Saldana was announced as the lead actress, but things soon died down. Critics decided to give her a chance to see if she could pull off such a big role. Then, the movie trailer was released, and everyone became outraged yet again.
The trailer not only shows Ms. Saldana with a prosthetic nose to make it appear wider, but she is also in “black face”. The question to Hollywood is why? If prosthetics and makeup were needed, to make Zoe appear more like Ms. Simone; why not cast an actress who wouldn’t need enhancements? For example, Viola Davis or Lupita Nyong’o would have been great for the role of Nina Simone. (In my opinion)
Take a look at the trailer below, and let me know your thoughts. Do you think Zoe Saldana should have been cast for the role? Who do you think should have been cast?