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Singer/activist Nina Simone

Entertainment: What Would Nina Simone Say?

Besides learning of all the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, another story that stuck with me this week had to do with the controversy surrounding the making of a new 2013 movie, tentatively titled “Nina”, based on the life of music legend and activist Nina Simone.

After images from the movie set were released a number of African-Americans have taken to the Internet to voice their disapproval of Zoe Saldana being cast to portray Simone because of the lack of resemblance the actress has to the singer. Many find it almost disrespectful that a woman who frequently spoke of her dark skin and full features be portray by someone her opposite. Some are so upset that an online petition was created at Change.org to replace Saldana with an actress that favors Simone more.

Actress Zoe Saldana in character as Simone.

The Hollywood star, whose movie credits include the smash hit “Avatar” and the action flick “Columbiana”, has darkened her skin, put on an Afro wig and has reportedly been wearing a prosthetic nose for a more accurate portrayal of the singer. (Read the full article from ABC News here.)

The reason many folks are upset is because there are darker skinned, full-featured actresses out there who could have easily slipped into this role without having to pile on layers of make-up or wear fake pieces for the part. But doesn’t being an actor mean transforming yourself inside and out to play a character to the best of your ability? Singer/actress Jill Scott has come to Saldana’s defense saying that this is exactly what this actress is doing. (Read what Jill Scott told Hello Beautiful.)

Zoe Saldana

The movie’s director, Cynthia Mort, obviously chose Saldana because she had faith that the actress could pull off the part. Others are already saying that despite it being early in the game – they aren’t buying it. Since the late entertainer died of “natural causes” back in 2009 we will never know what her thoughts would be about the controversy surrounding this situation. Still, that doesn’t stop people from wondering “What would Nina Simone say?”

Before you go, please share your thoughts about Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone.

Other related articles:

Zoe Saldana embodies legendary jazz singer Nina Simone (Daily Mail)

Personal Take, Nina Simone bio pics, casting problem (The Root)

Photos: Nina Simone & Saldana in character/Daily Mail;  Zoe Saldana/imdb.com