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Queen Latifah and Paula Patton defend Zoe Saldana

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

Photo credit: Zoe Saldana’s Instagram (@zoesaldana)

Zoe Saldana has had a rough few weeks as she’s been repeatedly blasted by fans and family members of late soul legend Nina Simone for her portrayal of the singer in the upcoming film biopic Nina. Although lots of people have had something negative to say about Saldana and the film, Saldana recently got some votes of confidence from fellow actresses Queen Latifah and Paula Patton.

As previously reported, hordes of fans have been blasting Saldana online for playing Simone because Saldana is Latina and much lighter in complexion than the soul singer and needed to wear blackface, a prosthetic nose and fake teeth to portray her. Both fans and family of Simone have said that Saldana’s portrayal is disrespectful to Simone’s legacy. They have also claimed that the role should’ve gone to other qualified, darker-skinned actresses like Danai Gurira, Adepero Oduye, Viola Davis or India Arie.

However, Saldana got some support from Simone’s daughter, as well as India Arie, who both slammed the film while also making sure to defend Saldana from her numerous critics.

This week, Saldana got even more celebrity support when Latifah spoke out about the controversy and defended Saldana against those who claim she isn’t Black enough for the role.

“I think Zoe Saldana is a great actress, so I am looking forward to it. She is of African descent — I don’t see why she shouldn’t play the role. I just want to see it. Get rid of the hype and let’s go watch a movie,” Latifah said.

Patton also addressed the controversy and advised fans not to spend their time trying to tear Saldana down when they haven’t seen the film yet.

“Imagine being in her shoes and enduring that. It’s not cool, and it’s not right. Clearly, someone thought she was perfect for it — she’s an amazing actress, she’s beautiful — and you haven’t even given her a chance and you haven’t seen it yet. I think we have to be in a place where we celebrate each other and are kind to one another, and say, ‘There’s alternate versions of a story’. Give her a shot, try to enjoy it and stop judging,” Patton said.

What do you think of Latifah and Patton’s statements on Saldana and the film? Let us know in the comments.



69 Comments

  1. disqus_ZsmDHbsJLs on March 10, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Well there were plenty of dark skinned blacks who could have been given the “shot” to do it.

    • BK_Malik on March 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Absolutely correct. If she was a dark skinned Latina I wouldn’t have had a problem with her either, but blackface in 2016 is completely unacceptable. I think Viola Davis or India Arie would have killed it.

      • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        Aargh. It’s not “black face” it’s make up. There’s a vast difference.

        • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 8:21 pm

          I apologize for using the term. I know it’s not technically “black-face” but in this day and time there is not need for anyone to wear dark make-up to portray a darker skinned actual person when there are qualified people available to play the part that don’t require it.

          • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 8:41 pm

            So no one should wear a wig to portray someone with a different hair color? No one should wear make up to look older for the role they might play? No one should wear a padded suit to look heavier for a role? Where do you stop? Why are you so hung up on skin color? It’s really odd.



          • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm

            I’m wasting my time here, you don’t understand the point of historical accuracy number one. Second you continue to dispute the point that there are “actors” that are much closer looking to Nina that could have played the role. As far as you’re concerned anybody can play anything so there’s no way to make any sense talking to you.



          • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 9:59 pm

            I never said “anyone can play anything”.
            Explain “historical accuracy” then, and how it is relevant to this silly little movie. You do understand this is a whole lot of nonsense, being up in arms about who was cast? You’re just silly.



          • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 10:01 pm

            I would but you’re a waste of time to try to explain anything to. Unsubscribing to this thread now.



          • Fawn Grier on March 13, 2016 at 9:33 am

            Just as I figured.



          • Marisol on March 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm

            Again, typical pasty bullsheit.



          • Fawn Grier on March 15, 2016 at 6:23 pm

            What does “pasty” mean to you?



          • Fawn Grier on March 15, 2016 at 6:25 pm

            Typical ignorant, uneducated, bitter old loser.



          • guest on March 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

            If you know anything about Nina Simone and her struggles with colorism and racism, you would know this is a slap in the face to her legacy. She was unapologetically black. She would be spinning in her grave if she knew the actress portraying her had to darken her skin and wear a prosthetic nose.



          • Marisol on March 15, 2016 at 6:17 pm

            Typical response for a pasty. If a black person played the roll of an actual white person, you would be here singing a different song. STFU



          • Fawn Grier on March 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm

            No, I would not. If the director, et al, thought he or she was the best person for the part it’s their business. Why do you have to take everything as an insult to blacks? And “pasty” is most definitely racist. How about I call you “Sambo”?



          • Marisol on March 16, 2016 at 11:21 pm

            You can call me anything you’d like and it wouldn’t mean she-it to me. If I recall right, Sambo was actually the color black. I’m red. Don’t get it twisted. Even the darkest black person doesn’t look like Sambo. Get over your self pasty…



          • Fawn Grier on March 17, 2016 at 6:45 am

            “Red”. Hahaha. You’re really funny. Obsessed with color, but funny.



          • EziliDanto on March 15, 2016 at 10:29 pm

            No need to apologize. You’re absolutely correct.



        • EziliDanto on March 15, 2016 at 10:24 pm

          Yes, it danm well is black face that’s the term used when Black actors were not allowed in Hollywood and white actors played Black roles in “black face.” They used makeup to get that black face. It was disrespectful and invalidating to Black people then. It is now. (See, images of white actors in black face when Black actors where not allowed in the movies — https://goo.gl/YkdO9X )

          • Fawn Grier on March 16, 2016 at 9:21 am

            I know what “black face” was. It’s not at all the same.



          • EziliDanto on March 16, 2016 at 10:22 am

            It’s ABSOLUTELY the same. Exactly the same. A person from the Dominican republic who says she’s half-white person and who MUST put MAKE-UP and probably bigger lip and nose to play Nina Simone is putting on a Black face she doesn’t naturally own. Moreover, what’s worst, a Dominican who identifies as white for all intense and purposes makes it even MORE accurately BLACK FACE. The extra denigrating treatment darker-skinned Black women get under white supremacy is not a trivial, insubstantial matter. In the context of Nina Simone, it was pivotal which is why anyone with half a brain sees how shockingly disrespectful this is to gloss over Simone’s immutable characteristics with make-up. Nina Simone’s naturally Black phenotype features were denigrated by white supremacy. Her triumph as a singer was because she was confidently BLACK enough to swim up that societal stream. Any film that glosses over this, as if make-up could have been put on Nina Simone to make her life what it was, is telling a lie. Worst, denigrating darker skinned women as if they’re reality doesn’t exists.

            As if it’s ok for a man to play a famous woman for instance, because hey, it’s just acting. It’s like these blithely oblivious white and Black folks who keep saying “all lives matter” whenever Black activists struggle against police brutality murdering Black people. It can’t be “all lives matter” because that implies all lives are equally at risk. Similarly here, all Black people are not equally destroyed by white supremacy in the same manner. Some can pass as white and “almost as white” and therefore are more acceptable. That’s the whole darn point here and this shadowed Nina’s entire life and career. Darker-skinned Black women were the ones put in the fields, work to death more, raped in the huts not brought into the house to be raped while enjoying better foods and treatment like the mulatto. The fetishizing of the mulatto is also tragic (i.e. Dominican women are the fourth most sexually trafficked Black women on planet earth!) and this is an altogether different subject. But we’re talking about the FACT that darker skinned women lives are and always have been generally more at risk and still are more at risk under a society that rejects them as beautiful and desirable, that DENIGRATES their color and Afrikan features more than those women with Black features Hollywood sells as “exotic.”. Ask Serena Williams. Black women who have what white supremacy has identified as Afrikan phenotype/features find it harder to see themselves in positive lights in this society because they’re not lifted up.

            They find little echo of triumph. It’s much harder for the darker-skinned person to make a living as actors, tennis players.. and across the board they face the greatest unemployment and the dimmest economic prospects for the future than those who can “pass.” Not understanding this is willful ignorance. Nina Simone is an icon and legendary more than because of her amazing talent, her advocacy that Black is beautiful. She is, among other soulful things, a rare and very famous echo for the darker-skinned women, for the underdog, that says “go for it,” don’t ignore society’s racism, CONFRONT it – love who you are, your KINKY hair, Jackson Five nostrils= be BLACK; how you look is empowering. That’s why, in her name, confronting as she always did. I say: boycott this effing sh*t.



          • Fawn Grier on March 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm

            Go ahead and boycott. Like any other boycott, no one will care.
            “Black face” was mocking, derogatory, intentionally so. Makeup to make skin darker is just make up.
            It’s just that simple. No need for a dissertation.



          • Marisol on March 16, 2016 at 11:25 pm

            Well said young lady….Well said….



      • Nigg_Newton on March 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

        Just — BOYCOTT — THE DAMN MOVIE….

        Plain and Simple.

    • Nigg_Newton on March 12, 2016 at 3:49 am

      JUST BOYCOTT the damn movie.

      PLAIN AND SIMPLE…

    • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Maybe they were! Maybe Saldena won over them all.

      • guest on March 14, 2016 at 10:24 am

        Cynthia Mort the director of the movie is also of Hispanic descent and has a history with Zoe. I think that had a lot to do with her decision.

    • Pop❀Lyfe on March 12, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      i think they chose her because she’s known in the acting community. They could have went with Viola, but the movie started shooting before How to get away with murder put her on the map. she would have been the BEST POSSIBLE choice, i think she has the depth and range to pull of portraying Nina. I don’t see Zoe even skimming the surface of such a deep role!

      • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 9:51 pm

        Absolutely!!!. I think they should have just put the movie on the shelf until Viola was available.

  2. ChocolateCity on March 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    There should be no shoes to be in. start there.

    There is never a reason for that level of disrespect. ever. The director hispanic herself…clearly, wanted to pay her own and not an AA actress.

    But, Queen Latifah I’m sure your movie will come hun…..and Lindsay Lohan can play you…since you’re both Lesbo. lol Her being of “African descent” has nothing to do with the cost of Tea in China. child bye. #FakeBitiiiiches

    P.S. Nina was NOT a “Soul Singer” lol This is why it’s so important to be accurate and respectful to one’s story. So, the truth is told.

  3. Sherri Etienne on March 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Nobody’s going to see that! It’ll be a flop…

  4. DH on March 10, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Please…Saldana as far as I’m concerned is black/latina. case closed…next.

    • BK_Malik on March 11, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      It’s not about heritage this time, we all know she is Afro-Latina. It’s about being having the closest physical characteristics to play the part and she was not the right choice, period.

      • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        So it’s not who is the best actor, it’s who most resembles the person they’re playing (without makeup) who should get the part. Got it. But I think that would suck.

        • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm

          No, it’s about the best actress that looks the most accurate.

          • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm

            “Actress” is a sexist term.
            How do you know who even was up for this part? How do you know Saldena wasn’t the best and most accurate?



          • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 9:56 pm

            Whatever, I don’t think that making everyone non-gendered “actors” is non-sexist, just stupid…
            It’s possible she was the best and most accurate at the time of casting (and if that was true it’s only because they didn’t look hard enough or because someone better wasn’t available) but that doesn’t mean she “IS” the best and most accurate person to play this role.



          • Fawn Grier on March 13, 2016 at 9:37 am

            Female actors made the claim the term “actress” was sexist, not me. I agree it’s a bit inane. But we must be politically correct, mustn’t we?
            That’s kind of life, isn’t it? Maybe someone you felt would be better in the role wasn’t available. So how can you criticize? And again, all this is a matter of opinion. It isn’t science.



          • Fawn Grier on March 13, 2016 at 3:55 pm

            “Ethic Alarms has had several posts on another really bad idea lately that is being pushed on the culture by political correctness and affirmative action activists: the loopy assertion that ethnic roles in movies and TV should only be cast with actors whose ethnic origins match those of the characters, and that if a director casts someone else, racism and bigotry are at play. Not too long ago, such an assertion would be regarded as too silly to discuss, but we have been through an intense period—the period known as “The Obama Era”— where tribal spoils, grievance-mongering and group identification have been accorded higher priority than, for example, talent, competence, experience or proven success. Through the fog of such distortions, the idea of rigid ethnic casting doesn’t seem so crazy, though it is crazy indeed.”
            http://ethicsalarms.com/2016/03/13/yet-more-casting-ethics-lets-slap-this-bad-idea-down-for-good-shall-we/



  5. Alex McConnell on March 11, 2016 at 12:04 am

    I didn’t see people getting all riled up about her going green skin. Alien Americans get far fewer roles than dark skinned African Americans.

    • BK_Malik on March 11, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      This is about accuracy. She was not the right choice to play this role and that’s all there is to it.

      • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        Because you said so, dammit.

        • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 8:24 pm

          No, because it’s the truth.

          • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 8:44 pm

            The whole selection process is a matter of opinion. There’s no “truth” to it.



          • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 9:58 pm

            Says you. If you have your way anyone will have the freedom to play anyone. Why not just have a Caucasian actress (“ACTOR”) play the next historical AA female character then????



          • Fawn Grier on March 13, 2016 at 9:34 am

            Once again, I never said “anyone can play anyone”. But it is called “acting” you know.



  6. Eric Romo on March 11, 2016 at 8:45 am

    when will people realize zoe saldana is using black americans, she doesnt include herslef with black americans, she sides with latino community, since do dominicans care about black american issues, stop claiming people that dont want to claim you, you guys need to stop obessing over latinos

    • BK_Malik on March 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      If she was a dark skinned Afro-Latina I wouldn’t have a problem with it but her having to wear ridiculous looking dark make-up to play the role didn’t make any sense when there are so many others that would have looked correct and closer to Nina without it.

      • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        Okay, like who? Who else should have been given the role. I want names.

        • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm

          India Arie, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, for example…

          • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 8:31 pm

            Who? They are not proven actresses, except for Angela Bassett. And she is too old for this role.



          • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 9:45 pm

            If you don’t know who Viola Davis is your comment shows that you really don’t know what you’re talking about, and Angela Bassett is no way too old for playing Nina Simone. As far as India Arie, have you ever heard of a first role or a breakthrough role? SMH…



          • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            You’re not the fing director of this movie! Get a damn clue.



    • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Why does anyone have to “side” with anyone? The problem is all these “sides” being taken. I’m really tired of hearing who’s not really black, not really white, who’s not black enough…

    • Pop❀Lyfe on March 12, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      so spot on!! so true, she’s tried for YEARS to distinguish that she’s not black & differentiate herself from the pack.

  7. BK_Malik on March 11, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Paula Patton and Queen Latifah both need to shut up…

  8. BoredandDangerous on March 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    She’s the wrong shade of black. Are you f…….. kidding me.

  9. Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Latfah and Patton are both class acts.

    • BK_Malik on March 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Not disputing that but they are both on the wrong side this time…

      • Fawn Grier on March 12, 2016 at 8:30 pm

        They are class acts because of their views on this.

  10. Peoples425 on March 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    It’s not the discussion of make-up or a great actress because I know of a lot of actresses of ligher complexion that I feel would be a good addition to this role, but the fact is that Ms. Saldana has on more than one occasion refused to acknowledge her African ancestry and to a point denied she had it. This is in and of itself the sole reason that she should not play such a character of such pride in herself of where she comes from and who she is as a Black woman.

  11. Marisol on March 15, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Hmmmmmmm, who cares what a clit licking lesbian and a white woman (who identifies as black) think? Yes, I know she’s half black, but they didn’t offer her the part either

  12. EziliDanto on March 15, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    This is beyond offensive. Dark-skinned Black women deserve more respect. Stop using sell-out Black women to sell out the brave and legendary Nina Simone. Enough disrespect. This film should never be made with a fake darkened black face.? So not acceptable. Boycott it.

  13. Sherri Etienne on March 17, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    The bottom line is this, at the time of casting Zoe was Hollywood’s it girl so whomever cast her was merely trying to capitalize off the success of such films like Columbiana and whatever successful run she was having at the time. In Hollywood it’s about dollars, forget sense.

    Sadly for them, they’re a day late and a Nina Simone short. Ain’t nobody going to see this movie. Black people, friends, family, fans are freaking insulted by this film, Nina’s own children are disgusted by it and coming behind the success of Straight Outta Compton who bet on a group of unknown actors and won big, Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone will be about as convincing as Gary Coleman (RIP) as Magic Johnson.

    Y’all supporters know better and you really need to quit playing! I understand you wanna support people and their craft, I get it. But even Ray Charles knows this was cast all wrong and he’s blind and dead… So cut it out!

  14. Jackie Wilson on March 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I would love to see Nickie manaj play madonna