India Arie slams Zoe Saldana’s ‘ridiculous’ Nina Simone portrayal

India Arie slams Zoe Saldana's 'ridiculous' Nina Simone portrayal

It’s not at all hard to figure out how fans feel about Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic about the singer’s life. The backlash against the film has been widespread and vociferous as many have criticized the filmmakers for casting Saldana, who looks nothing like Simone. The primary criticism is that Saldana is much lighter and that  a darker skin actress like Mary J. Blige or Adepero Oduye should have been cast in the role. Now, India Arie, who was considered for the role, is speaking out against the film, saying Saldana’s portrayal of Simone is “ridiculous.”

“SO TODAY I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone…AND I THINK THEY ARE RIDICULOUS!” wrote Arie on “Yes there should be a movie made, and YES they should have chosen someone who LOOKS like Nina Simone, ESPECIALLY since her RACE played such a PIVOTAL role in WHO, WHAT and WHY, she was.”

“THAT ASIDE for a second, this just looks WEIRD, it looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose … REALLY?!!!!” Arie added. “DOES NOT THE ONE NINA SIMONE’S LEGACY DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS?”

India Arie slams Zoe Saldana's 'ridiculous' Nina Simone portrayal

Arie referenced her place on the short list of actresses to play Simone, but claimed that she didn’t feel it was her “right” to play the role because of her lack of acting experience. And, although she felt that Saldana is a great actress, she explained that the images she saw of her were just disturbing.

“But I trust that through her obvious admiration of Nina, that Zoe Saldana can pull off the portrayal ENERGETICALLY,” Arie said. “But these images … just make me feel … SAD. Not because I want to play Nina Simone but because IT FEELS OUT OF PLACE WITH WHAT NINA SIMONE MEANS IN AN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORICAL CONTEXT!!!!’

Aside from Simone’s own daughter, Arie said that there is one recent Oscar-nominated actress that should be playing Simone.

“I will END this by saying I think VIOLA DAVIS should be playing Nina Simone,” she said.

India Arie slams Zoe Saldana's 'ridiculous' Nina Simone portrayal

Well, this isn’t the first time a film has been surrounded by this much racial controversy. Check out some other controversial films below. – nicholas robinson

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