Zoe Saldana Urged Not to Play Nina Simone in Biopic, Report Says

Nina Simone (l) in 1979. Zoe Saldana (r).

Nina Simone (l) in 1979. Zoe Saldana (r).  (Getty )

Zoe Saldana is apparently not black enough.

The Dominican-Puerto Rican actress is getting some heat for her new role as the iconic soul singer Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic “Nina.”

The New York Times is reporting that Saldana is being criticized for being too light to portray Simone since the legendary singer had much darker skin color.

Tiffani Jones, who runs a blog called Coffee Rhetoric, and had a blog post titled “(Mis)Casting Call: The Erasure of Nina Simone’s Image,” tells The New York Times Nina Simone is not being portrayed truthfully.

“Hollywood and the media have a tendency to whitewash and lightwash a lot of stories, particularly when black actresses are concerned,” Jones told The New York Times. “When is it going to be O.K. to not be the delicate looking ideal of what the media considers blackness to be?”

An online petition on Change.org urges the producers and writers of the film to reconsider having Saldana as the leading actress. The petition has gathered over 2,600 supporters.

Aside from the petition, Simone’s daughter, Simone Kelly, posted a message on her mother’s Facebook page saying the biopic has not been authorized by the Simone family.  

Kelly added that despite being a Saldana fan, she thinks actresses like Viola Davis or Kimberly Elise would have been better choices. This comes after R&B singer Mary J. Blige was linked to the project but was reportedly removed from as a prospect due to “scheduling issues,” the Times says.

Kelly also stated her mother’s wish would have been for veteran actress Whoopi Goldberg to play her.  

“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark,” Kelly told the Times, adding that Saldana should not play the role because "appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”

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