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What do you make of Zoe Saldana being given the role of Nina Simone in the biopic of NS' life and times?

(26 Posts)
AdrenalineFudge Tue 08-Mar-16 16:17:09

I'm a bit late to the party on this one but wanted to ask what, if anything, you make of it.

The basis goes that Zoe Saldana who is of Latino and African heritage has been afforded the role of Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic of Nina Simone.

The issue is that Zoe as a light-skinned black actress should not have been given this role; especially as she's had to 'black-up' for it and wear prosthetics (a prosthetic nose & darker foundation - to be precise). As a by-the-by Mary J Blige was initially cast for the role but dropped out.

Nina Simone's team aren't too happy about it, it was reported and they actually did tweet to Zoe saying "Cool story but please take Nina's name out your mouth. For the rest of your life."

Zoe is part black and I don't think there should be a test of 'how black are you' in order to do things but on this occasion I think Zoe shouldn't have this role. If it were a white person blacking-up there'd be uproar.

Yes Zoe does have black ancestry but imo she should not be acting out this role. A white person would be criticised for blacking up for this role then the same should go for a black person blacking up for this role.

Do I make sense?

Bitchrestingface Tue 08-Mar-16 16:25:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bitchrestingface Tue 08-Mar-16 16:25:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bitchrestingface Tue 08-Mar-16 16:26:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ToadsforJustice Tue 08-Mar-16 16:30:42

I think that she is a terrific actress and she should have no problems with the biopic. She was green in Guardians of the Galaxy I believe. I have no issue with actors wearing makeup for a role.

Bitchrestingface Tue 08-Mar-16 16:35:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RupertPupkin Tue 08-Mar-16 16:38:06

I think it's a bit strange. There are plenty of other talented black actors who look more like Nina Simone.

But as Jezebel pointed out, when you look at the team behind the production it's not really surprising.

ThisCakeFilledIsle Tue 08-Mar-16 16:59:57

I read what Nina's daughter Lisa Simone Kelly has said. She does not think Zoe Saldana is the issue, rather it is the innacurate story!

I have decided to give the film a miss based on that tbh.

RupertPupkin Tue 08-Mar-16 17:04:12

ThisCake she also mentioned that her mother grew up in a time where she was told light skin was 'good' and thick noses were 'bad', so her issue with Zoe Saldana was that she embodied this ideal of 'white' beauty that her mother did not typify.

neonrainbow Tue 08-Mar-16 17:07:45

God forbid zoe should be judged on her talent rather than her looks.

CrazyDuchess Tue 08-Mar-16 17:07:55

As Rupert says it's more than just 'blackface' but more that it was totally against what Nina was campaigning for.

No doubt Zoe is a fine actress, but was there really no one who could have done it better and looked a closer fit??

CrazyDuchess Tue 08-Mar-16 17:09:11

When talking about biopic- yes it is more than just talent and physical similarities to the subject must be taken into account

ThisCakeFilledIsle Tue 08-Mar-16 17:09:41

Thanks Rupert that wasn't in the piece I had read but I see it in your Jezebel link , will read that later.

All in all it sounds badly done.

Bitchrestingface Tue 08-Mar-16 17:14:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OohMavis Tue 08-Mar-16 17:15:09

It's a very strange choice.

RortyCrankle Tue 08-Mar-16 17:34:04

She is an excellent actress and I am sure will be great in the part. Of course there would quite rightly be an uproar if a white actress blacked up for the part. That would be completely unacceptable.

What next? DNA tests for all actor to ensure they are suitable to play a role?

CrazyDuchess Tue 08-Mar-16 17:43:56

DNA - lol you guys take it too far sometimes!!

CrazyDuchess Tue 08-Mar-16 17:45:08

Can i point out that she did black up!! Why is it different or less offensive because she is mixed race?? Because they used less Foundation?? Gah

AwadebumboMk2 Tue 08-Mar-16 18:27:57

Yes Toads because playing a person that actually existed in real is exactly the same as playing a fictional green character.

Charley50 Tue 08-Mar-16 18:43:37

I don't think it is anything like a white actress blacking up. I think it's more akin to the lovely Charlize Theron being chosen to play the beaten down Aileen in Monster (I think that's the name of the character/film, and having no end of prosthetic and makeovers to resemble her.
Actually I completely take all of that back. I was going to say it merely represents a lack of imagination in casting and is more sexist than racist. But as this was an issue that Nina Simone campaigned against, I think the casters/ directors were a bit ignorant / stupid / disingenuous to cast Zoe Saldana.
I've also got a vague memory that Monster was Theron's own project, in which case casting herself makes more sense.
I had better go and eat dinner now as not making much sense here!

AwadebumboMk2 Tue 08-Mar-16 18:51:28

Because Crazyduchess even if your half black your still black nobody acknowledges the other parts of your racial make they focus on the black.

LifeofI Tue 08-Mar-16 19:20:45

Its nothing like a white actress blacking up because there is no racist history of a lightskin person blacking up like there is a white person.

No i dont think Zoe should of been cast, there are many other actresses of darker skin who could of played nina.
However if Zoe didnt look like Nina then people would probably still complain.
I disagree with the fact people (not on MN on other forums) are saying its about colourism because nobody bated an eyelid when darkskin Angela Baaset played lightskin Tina Turner.

originalmavis Tue 08-Mar-16 19:26:31

Didn't Angelina Jolie play - oh I can't remember her name now - tbe widow of Daniel Pearl? She was absutely fine with that.

I thought the comments from the Nina Simone camp was a bit aggressive. It's a homage, not the black and white minstrel show.

CrazyDuchess Tue 08-Mar-16 19:35:40

Okay I concede it's not the same if she was white blacking up but still think it was objectionable.

HeyNonnyMaybe Tue 08-Mar-16 19:44:08

Mary J Blige was originally attached, who would also have needed make up and a prosthetic nose to look like Nina Simone.

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