Zoe Saldana Addresses Backlash Over Nina Simone Role


Zoe Saldana is a critically acclaimed actress, but even the accolades couldn’t save her from the fierce backlash regarding her upcoming work in a Nina Simone biopic. Although she’s briefly addressed the shade before, the “Rosemary’s Baby” actress delves more into the topic for her Monarch cover story.

“Nina was a true genius and an iconic artist. It was a dream job for me. It’s one of the scariest projects I’ve ever been involved with because it was about an iconic figure, and there were so many political [issues] around it from the beginning; but I really wanted it to be a love song to Nina Simone and I wanted it to just come from a place of absolute love,” she said.

She also talks about her upbringing and how her race never played a part in how she identified as a human being. Criticism surrounding the project have mostly been due to the fact that Zoe isn’t “black enough” to play the legendary poet.

“Just like everybody else I feel very strongly about Nina Simone, and that [this] was a story that needed to be told. I do believe that if everybody had more information about how this all came to be, it might help; but then again, I’m not here to get the acceptance of everyone – I’m here to be an artist first.”

She continues, “I find it uncomfortable to have to speak about my identity all of the time, when in reality it’s not something that drives me or wakes me up out of bed every day. I didn’t grow up in a household where I was categorized by my mother. I was just Zoe and I could have and be anything that I ever wanted to do.”

Vixens, how do you feel about Zoe’s upcoming portrayal of Nina Simone?