zoesaldanaThe controversy from the African American community surrounding Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone in the upcoming Biopic is warranted, yet a bit hypocritical. Where was this uproar when Kerry Washington was playing Kay Amin or Jennifer Hudson was playing Winnie Mandela? The way in which Hollywood chooses to portray people of African descent is a real issue. But we must view this problem equally when an African American actress is hired to play roles that disenfranchise the upward mobility of African actresses.



Jessica Ann Mitchell

Jessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of The National Black Pages & Black Bloggers Connect. She also writes on her personal blog at OurLegaci.com. To reach JAM email her at info@OurLegaci.com.

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3 thoughts on “Zoe Saldana Nina Simone: A Hypocritical Controversy

  1. “Plenty of other South African actresses who could have played the role of Winning Mandela”. …such as???
    Maybe the particular women (Zoe, Kerry, Jennifer) were chosen for these roles because of their talent and star status. So what if they have to darken their skin or wear prosthetics? Is it really that big of a deal?
    It’s like….ok…let’s complain there aren’t enough leading roles for Black women….but yet when the roles are there..let’s complain that the black actress’ s skin isn’t dark enough….or her nose isn’t the right size. Really????
    Be proud of them for what and who they are and who they are representing instead of complaining about which region should play this role or that role. Do they not all represent strong “black” women???

  2. The problem is really that we—black people—aren’t telling our own stories. Other people are telling them for us. It’s not that we got upset about this casting decision and not that one. it’s not that black people are just as bad as Hollywood when it comes to discriminating against Africans and Latinas (we aren’t). It’s that someone who directed a racist vigilante movie like The Brave One gets to tell the story of one of our greatest artists/activists. Her features and color were the essence of her beauty and part of her importance. Because her features were the opposite of what Hollywood embraced. So to use Zoe Saldana would be the perfect choice for Hollywood. Hollywood doesn’t like or understand Nina Simone’s politics, they don’t like her looks, and they probably don’t understand her music. That’s why they picked this director, and this actress. But it doesn’t stop there. They also give her a bad wig and shoe polish (almost as if they’re afraid we won’t notice the insult). This controversy isn’t a big misunderstanding on the part of black people. It’s a long drawn out battle against white supremacy. And it’s been going on since Hollywood began.


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