Bob Johnson, founder of BET, is also the founder of RLJ Entertainment, the company that’s distributing Nina. Yes we all know about why people are upset with Nina Simone being portrayed by Zoe Saldana. But it seems as though Johnson is going to cape for the movie. I mean, he’s the one that’s potentially going to make money from it.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Johnson spoke about the core of the issue, which he thinks is, who gets to choose who’s black?
“It’s unfortunate that African-Americans are talking about this in a way that hearkens back to how we were treated when we were slaves,” says Johnson said. “The slave masters separated light-skinned blacks from dark-skinned blacks, and some of that social DNA still exists today among many black people.”
“They’re both clearly of African descent,” Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter.“To say that if I’m gonna cast a movie, I’ve gotta hold a brown paper bag up to the actresses and say, ‘Oh sorry, you can’t play her’: Who’s to decide when you’re black enough?”
Everyone’s criticism about the movie, is the point Johnson seems to be missing. Simone’s legacy was in fact due to her looks, that weren’t considered mainstream them and definitely not now. So why not pick someone with the same aesthetic that would need tons of make-up and a fake nose?
Like I said, Johnson’s going to cape for this project. Did we expect anything different?