Zoe Saldana’s apology on cultural appropriation: “I Should Have Never Played Nina Simone”
Saldana played the role of Simone in a 2016 biopic of the singer.
In an interview with Pose, actress Zoe Saldana said she should have never taken up the movie about Nina Simone.
“I thought back then that I had the permission [to portray her] because I was a Black woman. Nina had a life and she had a journey that should be honored to the most specific detail, because she was a specifically detailed individual," she said.
For her role in the movie, Saldana used skin darkening make-up and worse, a prosthetic nose to fill the role of Simone.
At the time, the film was heavily criticized for choosing a light-skinned Black woman for the role, and was even questioned by Simone’s daughter.
On the official Facebook movie page in 2012, the late singer’s daughter wrote:
“I love Zoe Saldana, we all love Zoe... From Avatar to Colombiana, I've seen those movies a few times. But not every project is for everybody. And I know what my mother would think. I just don't get it.”
Saldana now says that she should have done everything in her power “to cast a Black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman.”
She added that she thought she had permission to play her because she was a Black woman.
As she shared her apology Saldana noted that Simone should be honored to the most specific detail because she was a particularly detailed individual..
Nina Simone’s estate also never backed the film.
“Please take Nina's name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life. Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, nauseating, soul-crushing,” it wrote in a tweet.
Nina Simone was 70 when she died in 2003, and is looked at not only as a singer, but as a prominent civil rights activist.