Zoe Saldana Defends Her Decision To Play Nina Simone

Photo: Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock.
In April, Zoe Saldana faced criticism for portraying Nine Simone in the biopic Nina. Some viewers took issue with the fact that the Dominican and Puerto Rican actress was playing a darker-skinned Black woman — and using a prosthetic nose for the role. This backlash came up in an interview with Allure published online Wednesday.

"There's no one way to be Black," Saldana said, addressing a tweet from Nina Simone's official Twitter account telling her to "take Nina's name out your mouth."

"I'm Black the way I know how to be," she explained. "You have no idea who I am. I am Black. I'm raising Black men. Don't you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain."

"Nina looks like half my family!" she went on to defend her decision. "But if you think the [prosthetic] nose I wore was unattractive, then maybe you need to ask yourself, What do you consider beautiful? Do you consider a thinner nose beautiful, so the wider you get, the more insulted you become?"

She also claimed that if she didn't take the role, it's possible no one would — or at least no one who could get the film as much attention. "The script probably would still be lying around, going from office to office, agency to agency, and nobody would have done it. Female stories aren't relevant enough, especially a Black female story."

Advertisement