After facing massive backlash over the casting of Latina actress Zoe Saldana to play the Black and proud “high priestess of soul,” the Nina Simone biopic will be released on April 22, 2016.
The Cynthia Mort directed-film raised eyebrows when Zoe was photographed on set, in Nina costume, with a prosthetic nose and darker makeup. Because a Black woman with a natural negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils (Beyonce reference) was unavailable?
Nina’s daughter Kelly told The New York Times, “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark.” “Appearance-wise this is not the best choice,” she added.
The film will explore Nina’s music, passion for politics, turbulent battle with alcohol, relationships and depression. It will also follow her assistant-turned-manager Clifton Henderson, played by David Oyelowo, as he encourages her recovery.
In an interview with BET, Zoe revealed she turned the down the film because she thought they should have cast someone “more physically right for the part.” Zoe blamed political obstacles for why it’s taken so long for the project to be released.
“It’s unfortunate that political and business reasons have prevented the director [Cynthia Mort] and myself getting our vision for what this story is, and a lot of inexperienced people have had undeserving power over this film.”