Update: BET Founder Defends Zoe Saldana's Nina Casting

Update: Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET and founder and chairman of RLJ Entertainment, which is distributing the Nina Simone biopic, has issued a statement in defense of Zoe Saldana.

“Zoe Saldana delivers an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute to Nina Simone," Johnson said in a statement sent to Refinery29. "She gave her heart and soul to the role and displayed her extraordinary talent. The most important thing is that creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness. Quality entertainment should be measured by the sheer force of creativity and the commitment that an actor or actress brings to the performance. We are proud to distribute the film headlined by Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo on April 22, 2016.”

Update: March 3, 10:15 a.m.
Nina Simone's family is not feeling good about Zoe Saldana right now.

The late singer's family posted a tweet telling the Nina star to "take Nina's name out of your mouth." The warning came after Saldana shared a quote from Simone on Twitter yesterday.


A subsequent tweet shared the family's anguish at seeing the Simone biopic come to life with a star not of their choosing.

This post was originally published on March 2.

The official movie poster for the upcoming Nina Simone biopic has been released — and people are not happy.

Zoe Saldana plays the title role in Nina, which hits theaters in April. Saldana's casting as the legendary African-American singer was originally slammed, because she is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent. There's even a Facebook group urging people to boycott the film.

The poster's release has reignited that backlash. As People notes, the film studio insists the image was not doctored. The role did, however, call for Saldana to wear dark makeup and a prosthetic nose.

Here is the poster.


Here are comments reacting negatively to Saldana playing the role of Nina.

You can watch the trailer for the film here. What do you think of Saldana's casting?

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