it matters that Zoe Saldana is a light skinned black woman. it matters that there are at least three recognized, talented, and fresh actresses who could play Nina Simone just as well as Zoe. that she is talented does not matter when other people can play that role. this film project is entirely disrespectful to Nina’s estate, her daughter, and Nina herself. were she the light skinned, more Hollywood accepted woman that Zoe currently is, her career would have taken an entirely different route.
which is why it matters that she was dark skinned with a wide nose and big lips. that was a part of her struggle and her message. it matters to me because there was one day when I was young and i wore my hair in a fro in between braidings, my father told me I looked like Nina Simone. it matters that someone who looks like her plays her because I can’t be the only dark skinned black girl whose ever wanted to see someone who looks like me make it and receive praise and award nominations.
the fact that they have to fake Zoe’s hair with a wig that makes her look like a Polliwog is important, as is the fact that they have to darken her skin and give her a prosthetic nose, especially when there are people whose entire image wouldn’t need work in order to make them look like the real life human being she’s supposed to be portraying. Nina Simone was real. she’s not a created character whose story can be swept under a “creative license” rug.
Zoe is talented, there’s no doubt about that. she’s shown this a number of times. but her talent does not matter here. I’m not here for this project and I will be boycotting it as well.