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Let's Blog About It! > Nina Simone the Biopic

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message 1: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited Feb 02, 2014 02:38PM) (new)

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Have any of you heard about the biopic in the makings? They have casted Zoe Saldano as the legendary Nina Simone! I'm appalled for more reasons than one. One because she's a black Latina who has a lighter complexion. Now, yes there has been great actors playing people with a different complexion (Denzel as Malcolm X, Angela Bassett as Tina Turner ect) and has done so successfully. However this is different because Nina Simone was an activist whose main struggle as a performer was indeed her rich dark complexion. That is a lot of her story. I think it's an insult to her legacy. Might I add her real life children has spoken out about it and ate extremely offended. What are your thoughts? Who could you see playing the legend? I'm still rooting for India Arie!

message 2: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments Hi Kisha

Yeah, I've heard of the biopic. Here is an article showing Zoe Saldana on set.

I'm in two minds about this one. At first I thought it was ridiculous because she looks nothing like Nina Simone, but Zoe Saldana is a brilliant actress and I do think she can pull it off. In terms of whether a light skinned actress should play her or not, I don't think it should really matter. I think that the more blacks place emphasis on shadism or colourism (And I'm not referring to you when I say this as I've read enough of your posts to know that you feel the same way I do regarding people's attitudes toward dark and light skinned and the whole team light skinned and team dark skinned nonsense on twitter) the more divided we become as a community. I don't think we will be able to judge properly whether or not she should have been cast in the role until we see the film.

And this is just to play devils advocate, but some within the black community see dark skin as inferior and Nina Simone fought against that. So shouldn't we view a light skinned actress wanting to play her as something positive and that her struggle to to have people view dark skin as something positive was successful?

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting thoughts on the matter!

A.D. wrote: "Hi Kisha

Yeah, I've heard of the biopic. Here is an article showing Zoe Saldana on set."

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll chime in :)

I had really mixed feeling about Zoe being cast as well. I'm a black Latina as well but of course i'm not as light as light so I've always looked to black women in American and Nigerian media for women who looked like me. In latin america, my image doesn't exist. In fact in latin culture, if you are a darker skinned female, you are encouraged to marry lighter to"mejorar la raza", or better the race.

Because of this i had major self esteem issues growing up. If it hadn't been for women like Nina Simone, a dark skinned woman who embraced her blackness, I would have brought those issues with me into my adulthood.

I think Zoe is immensely talented and I think we get so upset by the the decisions of the people behind projects because it seems like they just sit behind desks twiddling their thumbs on how to exclude black women from powerful movies. But the truth is, unless someone is willing to put the money behind these films(someone powerful and black), they won't get made without a headlining name. Zoe was the reason the movie got it's funding after the idea being years in the making. IT sucks but the entertainment industry is a business.

How many times have we heard people complaining about how there aren't enough black people in movies but then when a movie about our history comes out, it bombs. It's like people i know would rather watch The Hangover over black people doing something other than an old woman in drag, cussing people out.

I will say that I don't agree with Zoe being cast, not because she's latina but because she just doesn't look enough like her.She's tall and lean and somewhat caramel complected. Her features are more European than African, she just doesn't look like her. It's not even about colorist, Nina is just the polar opposite in looks.

message 5: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new)

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Hello ladies! A.D I so get what you are saying and it's a great perceptive on colorism. But, I feel opposite in way that we already have a taboo on dark skinned faces inn Hollywood being accepted. And now this being our chance to shine and they come up with Zoe? No disrespect to the actress because she's very talented. But, I feel that the main reason is that they feel no one will watch if a dark skinned person played her role. Which brings me to what Libertad said which is basically we as black Americans don't support our own. Very true! I have been preaching that for years! However, I still don't like it. The face paint makes her look like a clown. It actually put me in the mind of the retro movies from way back in the day. You know the real offensive ones. Anyone else could have played the role. Imagine Angela Bassett trying to play the role of Jennifer Lopez it would be an uproar! lol but I will wait until after to completely judge.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Totally agree with across the board, Kisha!

Nina Simone was an amazing woman and so is Zoe Saldana, however, I agree with you Zoe just isn't who I pictured to play her.

I think Viola Davis would have been a good choice, she has a very similar body type and her complexion is flawless!

message 7: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new)

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Oh that's a good one!

message 8: by Lee (new)

Lee | 708 comments I think Alfred Woodard would've been great too.

message 9: by Lee (new)

Lee | 708 comments Minus the "d". lol!

Alfre Woodard, I meant.

message 10: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new)

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Lee I love Alfrie Woodard! She is one of the greatest and definitely underrated.

message 11: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I definitely agree with all of you, especially regarding the make up. lol, i really hope that lighting etc will make it look more natural. But it was only after seeing those pics that I changed my mind about Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone. I think Alfre Woodard and Viola Davis would have been good choices, but they are probably too old. But I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product, I get the feeling it won't disappoint.

message 12: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
So like most of you guys I was super excited when I heard they were finally making a biopic about Nina Simone, she has always been an interesting figure to me. I'm interested to see how they are going to portray her life. Do we know if it's based off her autobiography (You Put a Spell on Me)? Lately I haven't been a fan of Hollywood productions. It seems as if they are trying to be loyal to everyone except the actual writers of the screenplays and authors of the books.

Zoe is a no! I don't see her being able to pull off the strength of Nina...regardless of her skin color. We they announced Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson as Nina...I thought the same thing. NO!!!

India. Arie would be would Viola well as Aisha Hinds.

message 13: by Londa (new)

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments I am still sorting through my reactions to all of this. I can't help but think that it feels like an insult though. It's as if the casting directors looked all over the world and could not come up with ONE talented, dark complexioned, voluptuos woman to play the role. Not ONE!!

For those who read, The Blacker the Berry, even those that didn' really feels like we keep playing the same old song.

At one point in the book, Emma Lou, attends a musical review with her boyfriend, Alva. After watching the show for a while she asks.

"Don't they ever have anything else but fair chorus girls?"

85 years later and her question is still valid. Can we name ONE major dark complexioned actress that has really made superstar status? Can we?? There are not enough roles created and even when they are, they seem to go out of the way to find someone light to play them.

There was a song that a chorus girl in black-face sang during the review that still rings true.

A yellow gal rides in a limousine
A brown-skin rides in a Ford,
A black girl rides an old jackass,
But she gets there, yes, my Lord.

Problem is... do we know that she really gets there. Emma Lou might be surprised that Hollywood is still putting some of us on the back of an old jackass.

message 14: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new)

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Very interesting Londa. And I wholeheartedly agree. Hollywood is very much for the "fair skinned". It's so upsetting because when you so see a dark complexioned face in Hollywood the movie is always ethnic roles (slavery type of role as if all slaves were dark skinned. But that's a whole other rant of mine lol) and they get stuck in them. It's just like dark skinned models for the most part can only get in a magazine that's promoting ethnic products. I won't go on a rant but there are so many talented faces of all shades that I'm sure they could have found a more fitting actress. But dark skin don't put seats in thr theaters. Why? Because when you see a dark skinned leading face you automatically think you will be watching a slave movie which scares away the majority because that is the plague that has stifled dark skinned America in Hollywood for decades.

message 15: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I saw this recently, and I must say that it upset me quite a bit.

I think what is upsetting is the reason they give for choosing a white actor to play the part. It's as if they are saying that black actors aren't needed in Hollywoood.

message 16: by Londa (new)

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments I was about too get all upset, but that website is purely satire. Phew. . Hollywood isn't that crazy yet.

message 17: by A.D. (new)

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I saw the article on Facebook, so assumed it just had to be true:-) I hope it isn't as it was just too much.

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