By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
Zoe Saldana seems to have it all. A movie career that really seems to be taking off, a reestablished romance with actor Bradley Cooper, and an up and coming modeling career. Saldana usually isn’t the kind of actress to get herself caught up in controversy, but she’s found herself right in the middle of controversy surrounding the production of the current biopic on Nina Simone’s life that is said to be in the works. When it was announced that Nina Simone would be portrayed by Zoe Saldana, many were outraged. And it’s because they feel as if Hollywood is opting to select an actress of lighter skin, rather than selecting an actress who could represent Nina better with physical traits that more closely resembles Nina’s real life features. Many feel like it’s just Hollywood pulling the same racist card towards darker skin actresses they have been pulling for years.
Refusing to be silent, many have come together and a petition was even created urging the producer to cast a dark skin actress to portray Nina Simone in the upcoming film or they would boycott the film.
The petition reads:
Replace Zoe Saldana with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simone .
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, it is also disrespectful 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.
Although Zoe has said nothing publicly about the controversy, it looks as if she has responded on a smaller scale on her official Twitter account. The other day when a fan tweeted her their thoughts on the petition, she retweeted their opinion as if she might agree with their position on the subject: