Zoe Saldana’s Nina Simone Movie Releases First Trailer Amid Race Controversy

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Zoe Saldana Nina Simone Movie Trailer

By Andrew Shuster |

Zoe Saldana Nina Simone Movie Trailer

(RLJ Entertainment)

The first trailer for Zoe Saldana’s controversial Nina Simone biopic Nina has just been released online. Now that the movie is approaching its release, there’s been a resurgence of backlash over the part-Dominican, part-Puerto Rican actress playing the iconic black singer. Watch the preview for Nina below.

As Gossip Cop reported, the first official Nina poster featuring Saldana in character was released on Tuesday, and was promptly slammed on social media by people who felt the ethnically mixed actress shouldn’t portray an African-American woman. Making matters worse is that Saldana wears a prosthetic nose and skin-darkening makeup to look more like the real-life subject. Additionally, Simone was a civil rights activist in addition to being a singer, and the color of her skin played a major role during her rise to fame in America in the 1960s.

Shortly after Saldana was attached to the movie in 2012, a petition to recast the role was launched. Saldana responded to the criticism in an interview with Allure, telling the magazine, “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.” Among those opposed to Saldana’s casting was Simone’s own family, including her daughter Simone Kelly, who told Ebony, “Appearance-wise this is not the best choice… There are many actresses out there, known or not, who would be great as my mother.”

The first trailer features a better look at Saldana in character as Simone, and highlights her career, in addition to the character’s struggles with political activism and substance abuse. “She fought for her music, she fought for her people,” reads the movie’s tagline. Nina hits theaters and Video-On-Demand on April 22. Watch the first trailer for the controversial movie below.

UPDATE: The Nina Simone estate is continuing to oppose the film, tweeting from a verified Twitter account on Wednesday night, “@zoesaldana Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.”


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