Zoe Saldana CALLED OUT For EXPLOITING Nina Simone’s LEGACY (And That Tragic Makeup):
She’s also wearing a prosthetic nose and has darkened her skin for the role!
Zoe Saldana was given a “good talking to” in an open letter recently thanks to her Nina Simone role in an upcoming film. Folks have something to say about the implications her casting makes about dark women of color and prejudices in Hollywood.
An interesting open letter to Zoe Saldana, posted on For Harriet, articulates for many African Americans the anger stirred up by the casting of Zoe Saldana in the upcoming film Nina, and what those actions say to Black actresses and the Black community as a whole.
Unfortunately…all of this seems to fly right above Zoe Saldana’s head as her recent retweet about the criticism seems to assume the anger is simply about reverse racism and her light skin…..but it’s actually much deeper more about keeping true to the whole purpose of Nina’s legacy.
A portion of For Harriet’s letter said,
Perhaps you’re just trying to hold on to whatever you can to justify your decision, but no, Zoe, this is not reverse racism. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. Black women are not discriminating against you because you are a light-skinned woman. We are expressing our frustration at a racial hierarchy that renders us too unattractive even to represent ourselves. And if we’re being honest, you got this role, in part, because of the privilege you’ve been accorded as a light-skinned Afro-Latina.
That’s not to say I don’t think you’re a talented actress. You most certainly are. In fact, I think you could surprise us with your performance in the film. That doesn’t change the fact that you are contributing to the ongoing invisibility of women who cannot remove their deep brown complexions, broad noses, and kinky hair every day after work. This project is a testament to the unconscionable arrogance of white supremacy. By taking part, you’ve condoned that arrogance.
And when Zoe makes comments in interviews like, ”..why the f— would I sit down and talk about how hard it is for Black women in Hollywood when there’s a Black president in my country?” it does very little to win her support.
As an artist, Zoe has the right to accept whatever roles she offered, but does she also have a responsibility to acknowledge the deeper issues that her casting raises?