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Nina Simone’s brother responds to Zoe Saldana

Photo Credit: Zoe Saldana's Instagram (@zoesaldana)

Photo credit: Instagram – @zoesaldana

2016 isn’t going so well for Zoe Saldana’s career. After enjoying a quiet few months at the top of the year, Saldana came under extreme scrutiny this past week as promotion began for her highly controversial portrayal of late soul legend Nina Simone in the upcoming Nina biopic. And after being blasted by Simone’s estate earlier this week, Simone’s brother recently decided to weigh in on the Saldana controversy as well.

As previously reported, hordes of fans have been crying foul about Saldana being cast as Simone because Saldana is much lighter than the soul singer and needed to wear blackface and a prosthetic nose to resemble Simone for the role. Instead, fans have claimed that the role should’ve gone to one of the many qualified, darker-skinned actresses like Danai Gurira, Adepero Oduye, Viola Davis or India Arie.

Earlier this week, Saldana defended herself against angry critics on Twitter.

“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me- No Fear … I mean really, no fear.” #NinaSimone,” Saldana wrote in the post.

However, the next day, Simone’s estate responded through their official Twitter page and sent an icy cold warning to Saldana.

[email protected] Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life,” read the tweet.

According to media reports, Simone’s brother, Sam Waymon, recently got in on the action and explained why he thinks his sister would be outraged if she was alive to see Saldana play her in a biopic.

As Waymon put it, Simone would be angry that such a light-skinned actress was cast to play her in a film. Waymon says that his sister would be outraged that Saldana wore blackface to portray her and that “painting up” Saldana is insulting and “raping Nina’s legacy.”

Well, that’s definitely a heavy statement about Saldana. With the negative press and the way fans have crucified Saldana, we’re not sure how this biopic will be received when it hits theaters on April 22.


  1. guest on March 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Zoe was a bad choice for the role but I don’t understand all of the vitriol directed towards her.

    • Vicki Winn on March 5, 2016 at 11:09 am

      I think that it is felt that we have endured ENOUGH of artists playing roles that they are completely unsuitable for (blackface needed).

      • guest on March 7, 2016 at 10:03 am

        True but the producers and director are responsible for that. I guess they will get the message when the film is a flop.

        • Julia on March 9, 2016 at 9:37 am

          Yes, but you can turn down roles, too. I’m sure she felt honored to have been asked and could have made a statement about it without jeopardizing her career, and could even have referred another woman to the role such as Uzo who is a classically trained opera singer, by the way and side-by-side Nina looks SO MUCH LIKE HER. Or India Arie (who is a musician and singer), Viola Davis (a Juliard grad and multiple Award Winner and multiple Oscar nominee), or a number of other very fitting women of color that could have portrayed Nina’s beauty without prosthetics. Zoe is a beautiful woman and talented actress, but this role is just not fitting for her, and in this whitewashed Hollywood era of scandal, it was such a poor choice for everyone involved.

          • disqus_ZsmDHbsJLs on March 10, 2016 at 11:38 am

            The bottom line we have a vary of blacks who could have did the role but as usual, some executive nut felt the need to take the short cut and just overlook QUALIFIED dark skinned blacks. That is what the fans are upset about. If this was Janis Jolin, you can believe they would have did it right.

      • disqus_ZsmDHbsJLs on March 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

        And I think many blacks are tired of these “excuses”. When it comes to blacks, there is always this half baked excuses to justify these decisions. I look at the guy who is Michael Jackson who is white and then he and others wonder why blacks were upset over that role. MJ was BLACK who had a skin disorder so get a BLACK PERSON who is light skinned. MJ skin disorder did NOT change his race. HE was still BLACK. Same with Zoe, who does not see herself as black as well, is lighter. We know roles for dark skinned actresses are more limited than ligher skinned blacks so why not give this role to a dark skinned black. The list of names are there to show there are some good dark skinned black actresses with musical talent like Nina. I think India Arie would have been perfect.

    • disqus_ZsmDHbsJLs on March 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

      I think because for one she does not see herself as black so why get a role that is for a black artist? (2), how they had to build her face with dark makeup and a nose, (3) and many just feel she could have turned down the role.

  2. Jason on March 4, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Does anyone know if she had a sit-down with Simone’s family prior to doing the film? Based on their reaction – it doesn’t seem like it.