Mary J. Blige Been Ready to Portray Nina Simone in Biopic

Mary J. Blige is sitting at the ready.

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul discussed her longing to portray the legendary singer-songwriter Nina Simone in a biopic.


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The conversation sparked after the New York native was asked if there was someone she’d like to play on the big screen.

“I always wanted to play Nina Simone,” Blige told the audience.

“I want to learn how to play the piano,” she continued. “I love her songs. They are very dark and moody and I can always find a place for that. So yeah, I definitely want to play her.”

Blige was set to play the role years ago after she revealed in a 2009 interview that she was working with William Morris Endeavor (WME) and film writer and producer Cynthia Mort to move forward on a biopic titled, The Nina Simone Story. The “Family Affair” singer addressed the project again in 2010, explaining that she was preparing for the role. After multiple obstacles delayed the project, it wasn’t until 2016 that a film following the story of the late jazz musician premiered, titled Nina and starring Zoe Saldana.

The Grammy-winning performer took time to salute the 50th anniversary of hip-Hop, sharing her appreciation for the genre.

“I think it’s been amazing because hip-hop has given our culture a voice,” Blige said. “It’s given everybody a voice and a place to speak their truth to. From JAY-Z to Nas to Biggie, they’re all speaking their truth through music, from Rakim to KRS-One.”

“Everybody is speaking what they’ve lived and what they’ve done through their music and it’s given them some sort of therapy, and that’s what hip-hop has done and I hope it continues to do that and I hope it stays around for a long time because the new generations are doing the exact same thing.”