Skip to content

Nina Simone’s daughter defends Zoe Saldana; still hates film

Zoe Saldana

Photo Credit: RLJ Entertainment /

The backlash and controversy surrounding the upcoming Zoe Saldana led biopic on the life of beloved music icon Nina Simone has been far and wide.

Everyone from bewildered fans to fellow actresses have weighed in on the issue (usually with criticism of Saldana) since promotion of the film began to kick into high gear last week culminating in the first poster and trailer being released.

Surprisingly, Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, has come to Saldana’s defense, stating that she is “not upset” with her portraying her mother, but that her problem with the film lies within the actual script.

“It’s unfortunate that Zoë Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture,” Simone Kelly, 53, told Time magazine. “It’s clear she brought her best to this project but unfortunately she’s being attacked when she’s not responsible for any of the writing or the lies.”

Of course, since Saldana was given the role in 2012, many people have openly decried the decision to cast the fair skinned actress to play Simone, who was of a darker complexion. Uproar kicked into high gear when the first images from the movie’s set began to circulate depicting Saldana in what some consider to be a form of modern day blackface. Simone Kelly’s issue with the film, however, is the accuracy of the script. The story follows the relationship between Simone and her former nurse-turned-manager Clifton Henderson, which Simone Kelly says is inaccurate and adds that the “project has been tainted from the very beginning.”

“The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton that never took place. They never had an amorous relationship,” she contends, even revealing that Henderson was gay. “Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother’s life and everyone knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered.”

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that issues surrounding the film are quite compelling.

Nina open in theaters on April 22.


  1. Nigg_Newton on March 5, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Sorry but, It does matter that THIS BLACK LATINA (Zoe Saldana) is doing the part. WHY would any CLOWN Director put her in this role. Here are the problems (Zoe Saldana), is not a black person that associates with BLACK PEOPLE. She is married to a WHITE MAN. She as never been immersed in black culture.

    THEREFORE…I will not be watching this movie and will not ask any others to watch this movie.

    Power must be handled in a correct manner. PUTTING OUT GARBAGE is not the answer. This movie is garbage.

    • Shunkedra Zachery on March 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Why is it that the president is considered black when he’s mixed and Zoe is not? She identifies as black and latina. She is Haitian, Dominican, and Puerto Rican.

      • Nigg_Newton on March 6, 2016 at 8:43 am

        Here is why the PRESIDENT is considered BLACK.

        1. He said he was BLACK!

        2. He has a BLACK FAMILY!

        3. His wife is BLACK and she also says he is BLACK!

        NOW — again…If Zoe Saldana said she was BLACK then I would have different opinions about her doing the picture, but if you CLEARLY say and act badly to BLACKS. Then I will take you at your word. YOU ARE NOT BLACK…so do not make money off BLACKS!

        Go make a movie about a HISPANIC and paint your FACE LIGHT BROWN!