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.