Zoe Saldana’s Nina Simone Movie Poster Reignites Backlash Over Actress Playing African-American Singer

Truth rating: 10
Zoe Saldana Nina Simone Backlash

By Andrew Shuster

Zoe Saldana Nina Simone Backlash

(Getty Images)

Zoe Saldana is getting slammed again for portraying African-American jazz singer Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina now that the film’s poster has been released. Many people feel the actress, who has Dominican and Puerto Rican roots, isn’t ethnically suited enough for the role. See Twitter reactions and the poster below.

Controversy surrounding Saldana’s casting first emerged back in 2012 when a leaked photo from the set featured the actress in character wearing what appeared to be a prosthetic nose and skin-darkening makeup. A Change.org petition to recast the part was later launched, but Saldana responded to the criticism by telling Allure, “It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it, I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am.”

The movie has been sitting on a shelf for a while, but it was revealed on Tuesday that Nina would be released in theaters and Video-On-Demand on April 22. Accompanying the release date announcement is the film’s poster (see below), which has reignited the controversy surrounding Saldana’s casting.

A person with the Twitter handle @armaniaarmpits writes, “Zoe Saldana should be ashamed of herself for stealing what could have been a breakthrough role for so many black actresses.” A user named @breonna_kiara similarly expressed, “Zoe Saldana should’ve passed on playing Nina Simone.” A person named @naeePALM wrote, “I like zoe saldana. but an afro-latina that denys her blackness has no business playing an unapologetic, pro-black singer/activist.”

Twitter user @Dart_Adams asked, “Why did they DARKEN Zoe Saldana rather than cast a darker actress since it was such a crucial part of Nina Simone’s story?” And a user with the handle @AntheaButler joked, “That Zoe Saldana pic as Nina Simone looks like the blackface of a bad Halloween or frat party.” For her part, Saldana has yet to respond to the backlash over the film’s new poster.

Zoe Saldana Nina Poster

(Entertainment Weekly)

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