The first official poster for Zoe Saldana’s upcoming film Nina was released Tuesday, garnered serious casting backlash.
“I’m just realllllllly not here for Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone. NOPE,” said one Twitter user. The sentiment was echoed by another Simone fan, “Listen, you’ll never convince me a dark skinned Black woman couldn’t have played that role better.”
Zaldana, who had both Dominican and Puerto Rican ancestry, was cast in the Nina Simone biopic in 2012. When set images of Zaldana as the American jazz singer were seen on the internet, fans, critics and family members publicly criticized the casting choice. A Facebook group was also created urging people to boycott the film.
“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice,” said Lisa Simone Kelly, Simone’s daughter, in an interview with The New York Times.
Zaldana had in February 2013, confessed to being aware of the backlash and expressed her sincere admiration for the legendary singer.
“The reality is what keeps me focused and what kept me from I guess getting stressed or being hurt by the comments is that I’m doing it for my sisters,” Saldana said to HipHollywood.com. “I’m doing it for my brothers. I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me. So that is
my truth and that set me free.”