Zoë Saldana is not Nina Simone. Not on her best day, ever.
I don’t understand why colorism is still a thing in the year 2016? America? Never mind.
Before you read any further, watch the videos of the young women in the Buzzfeed clip. Note their reactions. These are Black women who know their history, who know Nina Simone and her struggle. No matter how dark or light these women are, they recognized Nina’s struggle to be so damned Black and still so damned talented. And the price Nina paid for her talents. Watch the video. I’ll wait right here.
<Approximately 3 minutes later…>
I agree with everything these Sisters had to say. It has little to do with Zoë Saldana and more to do with Nina’s image AS a dark-skinned sister struggling to make it in a color-reactive world. Nina would not be able to sit here and see a movie being done about her with a woman who needs makeup to be as dark as she was, using a prosthetic nose job rather than finding an actress who has the richness and full features Nina did.
They certainly do exist. One of my pet peeves with all movies finding actors to play famed historical figures. Vegas does a better job of matching actors to roles than Hollywood does.
Maybe Hollywood should be looking at it differently: Find a talented actress who can sing (or a talented singer who can act)… There are tens of thousands of such women who were a far closer match in both tone and temperament than Zoe was. Prepare her. Let her natural singing (or acting) talents soar and watch as people come out to be introduced to your NEW, well-prepared talent.
Jennifer Hudson anyone?
Think of the millions you would save in special effects makeup trying to match Zoë to Nina’s complexion. Think of all the costumes and pillows and everything else Zoë got Playdoh’s Makeup Effects on every time they filmed a scene.
And yes there will be people who say Zoë has name recognition, thus ensuring the possibility they will make back what they spend on it. Not disparaging her skills. She is reasonably talented. That is not what these complaints are about.
These complaints are about the very idea that nearly three or more decades after Nina’s death, we are arguing about finding a sister who looks enough like her not to need a special effects makeup team to get her ready for her closeup.
But not too close. Damn, that makeup looks like shit…
Here is a documentary coming to Netflix which includes footage of the Nina Simone and it shows part of the reason people are so unhappy with what they are seeing. Nina’s appearance was about HER beauty, not the white-washed, sanitized, pandering to the fears of White people nonsense calling itself a biopic…Ugh.
Take it away Nina:
And if I were picking someone, I would have gone straight here to India.Arie. Yes, I said it. Looks far closer to the part, has the chops to sing her way to where she needed to be. Zoe, its just a job to you. I don’t blame you for what happened. I am certain you believe you were representing Nina fairly but there are issues here beyond your choice as an actor.
We love you India.
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. Since they insist on constant entertainment and can’t subscribe to cable, Thaddeus writes a variety of forms of speculative fiction to appease their hunger for new entertainment.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies:Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short(2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (UK, 2012), andPossibilities (2012).