Zoe Saldana on race and criticism: ‘I am Black. I’m raising Black men.”

Nina, the film that stars Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone, had a long, hard journey to making it to the big screen. It initially went from office to office and couldn’t pin a lead actress until Saldana joined on. But when the trailer was released, it was the target of a multitude of negative criticisms concerning Saldana being chosen, the use of darker makeup and a prosthetic nose and more.

Now that the film has been released after a five year process, Saldana, who stars in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond film, opened up about her feelings on the criticisms of her racial identity and whether or not she should have portrayed Simone in a cover story with Allure

Zoe Saldana Speaks On Playing Nina Simone And How She Got The Role

“Nina,” the biographical film that focused on a period of singer Nina Simone’s life, is set for a limited release tomorrow (April 22), according to Colorlines. This day has been long in the making, after multiple attempts to get the project off the ground and has seen its fair share of controversy. Namely, the use of makeup to make Saldana’s skin appear to be darker and prosthetics being used to make her nose look wider.

Zaldana didn’t directly reference this controversy in a recent screening, but she did reference “well, the other obvious reasons” while talking about her initial hesitations with accepting the role. She did go on to speak about what it took for her to play Simone and what kind of process she went through. Take a look at some of what she had to say below:

The Problems With Zoe Saldana’s Casting As Nina Simone Are More Than Skin Deep

On Tuesday, we learned that the embattled biopic loosely based on Nina Simone’s life, simply called Nina, will be released on April 22. On Wednesday, the trailer was released. And, while all the sentiments against Zoe Saldana’s blackface (or “mud face”) and fake accent are correct, there’s a bigger reason why Saldana never should have taken the role in the first place: Saldana doesn’t believe that Black womanhood is a thing.

Nina Simone Documentary Drops Next Month

Nina Simone

The trailer for “What Happened, Miss Simone” is finally here. The film explores the triumphs and tribulations of Nina Simone’s life. The documentary by Liz Garbus is not to be confused with the controversial biopic starring Zoe Saldana. The film will be released on June 26th.

Photo: Nina Simone/Netflix

Zoe Saldana Hates Questions About Her Ethnicity; Says “People of Color” Don’t Exist

Ever since she was cast as Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic, actress Zoe Saldana has found herself routinely asked questions about race and identity.

And apparently she doesn’t like it very much.

In a recent interview, Saldana asserted that she wishes people would stop asking her about her race, and that “there is no such thing as people of color.”

Zoe Saldana Responds to Nina Simone Controversy

When news first broke that Zoe Saldana would play the late, great Nina Simone in a forthcoming biopic, it ignited a firestorm of controversy.

Many saw the casting choice as a classic case of Hollywood colorism and whitewashing. Some argued it was a slap in the face to the legacy of Nina Simone (and the photos of Saldana essentially in blackface didn’t help).

Saldana finally addressed these sentiments in a recent interview.

Happy Birthday Nina Simone!

Today is Nina Simone’s birthday.

An endlessly fascinating vocalist and fierce activist, Nina Simone changed the face of American popular music.

There were great jazz vocalists before her, but no singer was more fearless with their delivery, arrangements, style, and subject matter. A true maverick.

The Price of the Ticket

As much as I’d like to make today’s post an extension of last week’s racist Halloween costume checklist by including entries such as, “Is this costume one of Oprah’s favorite things?” I think it’s best to say a word or two about the upcoming Nina Simone biopic.

Late last week, images of Zoe Saldana as Simone began circulating the internet. And they were even more cringe worthy than my pessimist self had been expecting. Saldana’s face looked as if the makeup artist had been practicing some sort of patchy blackface in anticipation of (racist-ass) Halloween or working under the incorrect assumption that Saldana was playing Al Jolson’s great-great-grand niece in a horror flick. I don’t know. What is clear, though, is that the pictures have given no one who cares any sort of “relief.” In fact, the pictures are now serving as the current target of our collective vitriol.

On the Origins of Our Sexuality



So it has come to mind lately that sexuality begins with responses to someone else’s arousing actions. Completely dependent on the first occasions of sexual excitement, sexuality also stands before us freely, not committed to hetero or homo orientations. When we talk about molestation and refer to it as a crime, we talk about adults that pervert the innocence of a child; or applying similar words, we talk about adults that interrupt a child’s normal path to sexuality, while sickly achieving easy sexual satisfaction. Contrasts between deviant routes to sexual activity (molestation) and normal routes interest me because, if I think about it, sexuality is never individualistic. We cannot think about our sexuality without the encouragement of other people to use our bodies in ways suitable for privacy. At best, our disgust with molesters prefers that children develop their sexual personalities with others that are equally impressionable and curious, but they cannot avoid being acted upon.

God's iPod

I was going to serve up a nice little nihilistic rant to begin the week, but I’ve thought better of it.  Instead, I will provide you with a list.  It’s been a while since I’ve done a list, right?

Last week, I failed to give a special birthday shout out to Nina Simone.  After posting my blog, I spent most of the day listening to Nina (partly because it was her birthday, partly because I needed to get Soulja Boy’s “Speakers Going Hammer” out of my head).  The exercise lead me to Youtube.  One of the comments on a clip of “Sinnerman” reads: this is on God’s iPod.

I’m stealing that idea for today’s blog.  What, exactly, is on God’s iPod?  A few guesses (which may just look like a list of some of my personal jams, because the God I believe in has the same [excellent] taste in music that I have.  Me being made in His image and all.):