Major controversy over the fact that actress Zoe Saldana was picked to play the role of jazz singer Nina Simone.
Couple of people with STRONG opinions on whether Zoe is black enough are Tiffani Jones, who runs Coffee Rhetoric and Demeriese Valier, who started a petition on change.org.
Tiffani and Demeriese think the Dominican-Puerto Rican-American born black actress should be replaced with a much darker person.
On August 17 Tiffani wrote on her site:
“When it was announced in 2010 that a Nina Simone biopic was in development and that singer, Mary J. Blige was slated to play her, the public’s interest was piqued and they were a bit skeptical about whether Mary had the breadth of character to portray such a dynamic figure.”
She went on to say: “while Mary J. Blige emotes a similar feeling of euphonic consciousness in her own music, she doesn’t necessarily harness the same sense of awareness or presence as Nina did. Nonetheless, some of us stayed abreast of the project, which was slated to start filming last year. Alas, it was stalled by financial setbacks, which delayed production and Mary J. Blige was forced to drop out. Folks were left to ponder who’d play Nina; bloggers and fans campaigned for the Black actresses and entertainers they thought would be more of an appropriate fit for the role – including Viola Davis, Lauryn Hill, India Arie and especially Adepero Oduye who starred, to wide acclaim, in Pariah – so many were left with feelings of confusion and dismay when Afro-Latina actress, Zoe Saldana was announced as Mary J. Blige’s replacement. With Saldana on-board to play Nina, suddenly the film’s financial woes were resolved and filming is slated to begin this year.
Demeriese Valier petition of www.change.org, which as of press time had over 2,700 supporters, states:
“Nina Simone, dubbed The High Priestess of Soul, is an American icon and a music legend. Because of this, it is without a doubt straight up disrespectful to Ms. Simone and her legacy to get an actress who looks nothing like she did to portray her in a movie about her life. Getting light complexioned actors to play the roles of dark complexioned historical figures is not only a sign of blatant disrespect to the persons they are portraying, but it is also disrespectful to their families, to history, to the people who look like the persons being whitewashed, and to the intelligence of the audience. For too long Hollywood has gotten away with this practice of revisionist history and it is time that we let our voices be heard, be it by this petition or by boycotting the movie if no change has been made as to who will portray Nina Simone. This is not a diss to Zoe Saldana. She is an excellent actress, but this movie role so much bigger than her undeniable talent.”
Look, the fact is Ms Simone’s story is one that should be told. The script was being shopped around for a while and they couldn’t find anyone to finance it, now that Zoe is on board it’s being made.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too!