Zoe Saldana As Nina Simone: A Controversy Discussing Afro-Latina's, Antiblackness, And Colorism

Stephen Jordan

Zoe Saldana played the iconic singer Nina Simone in the biopic Nina and has been receiving backlash ever since her casting was announced. According to an interview Saldana did with BET in 2013, she retweeted something said by one of her followers, claiming that the controversy over her casting was reverse racism.

"As a woman, it wasn't difficult to empathize with another woman," Zoe said, while speaking with Essence magazine. "But I needed to be very isolated. I moved out of my house for three months. I wasn't really talking to anybody that I knew. I just needed to be all things Nina. It was so intense, and everything happened really fast."

"I literally run away from people that use words like ethnic," Saldana said, discussing race. "It's preposterous! To me there is no such thing as people of color cause in reality people aren't white. Paper is white. People are pink."

You may share the same sentiment as Zoe, however, if you claim to be a fan of Nina Simone and her music, you would know that her ethnicity, as well as how dark her skin was, was mentioned in her music. She never shied away from it and, in fact, wholeheartedly embraced it. The singer was dealing with racism, with her skin, her lips, her nose and her body in general - race was a very big deal in her life as well as her career. Simone Kelly would have preferred an actress like Viola Davis or Adepero Oduye to play her mother.

"We have a Black president right now. So why the f*** would I sit down and talk about how hard it is for Black women in Hollywood when there's a Black president in my country?"

Nina will be released in theaters and VOD April 22, 2016.

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]