The moment it was announced this past summer that Zoe Saldana would be playing Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic, the criticism of the choice hasn’t abated, even from Simone’s own family.
In dueling essays in Ebony this past month, Marc Lamont Hill says Saldana was the wrong choice to honor Simone’s legacy, while casting director Tracy Byrd says Saldana is a good choice because of her commercial appeal and acting ability.
Saldana herself has finally responded to the controversy. Hip Hollywood interviewed the actress to discuss all the criticism. Here’s what she had to say:
“The reality is what keeps me focused and what kept me from I guess getting stressed or being hurt by the comments is that I’m doing it for my sisters. I’m doing it for my brothers. I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me. So that is my truth and that set me free. You know, I can only rely on that and maintain as much humility as possible so that when I have to face the world and I have to then give the movie to the world to see and share it with them, that if it comes back in a negative fashion or positive, I’m gonna keep my chin up because that’s who I am and that’s who I’ll be and Nina was like that too. So I did it all out of love, out of love for Nina, out of love for my people and who I am and my pride of being Black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman and that’s my truth.”
What do you think of Zoe’s response? Do you think she answers her critics’ concerns?