Zoe Saldana recently retweeted the following:

Now a retweet can be taken in several different ways. It could either mean she’s cosigning the sentiment, or felt the need to share someone’s opinion about the subject thats been brewing for some time now. Either way, she’s apparently feeling some kind of way about it.

The possibility of Saldana being casted as Nina Simone has received a lot of backlash. People have said she just doesn’t have the talent to pull off such a role, that she’s not a singer, but mainly because of her aesthetics.

Whereas the tweet is citing ‘racism’, it may be more appropriate if it mentioned colorism. Although Saldana has claimed many times that she is a black woman, apparently to many people she isn’t black enough to portray Nina.

““When I go to the D.R., the press in Santo Domingo always asks, “¿Qué te consideras, dominicana o americana?” (What do you consider yourself, Dominican or American?) I don’t understand it, and it’s the same people asking the same question. So I say, time and time again, “Yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman.”) [They go,] “Oh, no, tú eres trigueñita.” (“Oh no, you are ‘dark skinned’”) I’m like, “No! Let’s get it straight, yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman).”

How many times must she yell, that she is a black woman? Just because she comes from a spanish speaking country, doesn’t mean she’s any less blacker (yeah it’s not a word..so..) than the next black chick.

Many people have written posts, tweets and blogs about Saldana not having dark enough skin, “blacker” features, or resembling Nina Simone. Unfortunately, not everyone can be Halle Berry as Dorothy Dandridge. Just because she’s’ not in the latest Tyler Perry movie, or tends to have white men as love interests in the movies she’s appeared in, doesn’t make her any less black than the next black actress. For the people who’ve cited that maybe she can’t pull off the role because of a lack of talent, that’s another matter of opinion. Personally, if I had to weigh her talent against Mary J. Blige’s, who was originally up for the role, I’d put my money on Zoe.

Hollywood is going to do what Hollywood wants to do. We’ve already seen them turn Angelina Jolie into a bi-racial black woman. Hollywood is only concerned with making the dollars at the box office.

You could also bring up the fact that Angela Bassett, looked nothing like the lighter Tina Turner, but she did get that role and was fucking amazing. No one yelled or hollered about that. Sure, there are probably more talented actresses out there, but if they were lighter as well, would the talent surpass their color?

  • http://blackgirlshining.tumblr.com renee

    Let me put it this way, since a lot of people truly do not understand Nina’s Legacy, It’s like casting Zoe Saldana for the role Lauryn Hill. It’s just wrong.

  • Queenie

    Andre, for most black american people, their concept of “african” comes from within an american context. Of course there are a million different looks of black african people, but generally the most despised in the states, historically are the the ones who look like Nina; dark skin. broad nose and full lips… (I don’t find ZS particularly attractive, she is rather plain with a somewhat gaunt appearance and a thin top lip.. I honestly don’t see what the fuss is about her looks…) Anyhoo, that’s not the point, the point is this woman who doesn’t look like Nina was chosen above all other actresses who would accurately reflect Nina’s dark beauty. Many of us see this as a problem… It’s almost as though the only time a dark skinned black woman is portrayed she must be a a monster or victim, as in Precious or a maid. Nina broke that mould, and casting someone like Zoe ignores that, understand?

  • thedeal


  • Misty

    While I like Angela, I actually would have personally preferred her top be light-skinned

  • Misty

    No one is questioning her blackness nor how proud she is to be black. What boils my blood is that people who are making comments like this really do not get it. That question of “blacker than thou” tribalism is so irrelevant to what people are pissed off about. So before you brush us off a “haters”, listen to what we have to freaking

    Nina Simone was also Native American and white (so the “true blackness” thing is not even an issue). However, she did have kinky hair, very dark skin and a flat nose. Those struggles of “colorism” (see that word) in being a dark-skinned woman, along with racism, were so much a part of her music and her life story. When you make a biographical movie of a historical, you are honoring their life story as best as one can. Ignoring colorism within that would be wrong. It’s not about Zoe’s blackness, but Nina’s legacy.

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