In 2016, Zoe Saldana starred in the Nina Simone biopic Nina, and now she is apologizing for taking the role. In a recent Instagram video on Afro-Latinidad & Colorism, she talked about the controversial role.
The actress said, “I should have never played Nina. I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had years ago—which was a different leverage, but it was leverage nonetheless. I should have tried everything in my power to cast a Black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman.”
“I thought back then that I had the permission because I was a Black woman. And I am. But, it’s Nina. And Nina had a life, and she had a journey that should have been, and should be, honored to the most specific detail. Because she was a specifically detailed individual. About her voice, her views, her music, her opinions, and her art. And she was so honest. So, she deserved better.”
Zoe lastly adds, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry because I love her music. It wasn’t enough. With that said, she’s one of our giants, and someone else should step up. Somebody else should tell her story. I know better today, and I’m never going to do that again. Never. I’m learning. I’m still processing it. I’ve been processing it for ten years, and I think it’s a conversation that I wanna have.”
Back when she was cast for the role, Saldana, who is Afro-Latina, faced criticism and backlash over being chosen. As E! News points out, the actress wore a prosthetic nose and darkened her skin to play the part.
Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone’s daughter, was also displeased by Zoe getting the role. At the time, she said, “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.”