In a recent article by The New York Times, writer Tanzina Vega delves into the controversy surrounding Cynthia Mort‘s decision to cast Zoe Saldana as the legendary Nina Simone. Vega, like many, questions if Saldana can carry the role without the slightest resemblance to Simone. Translation: She’s too “light-skinned.”
“Jimmy Iovine & Cynthia Mort: Replace Zoe Saldana with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simone” has garnered more than 5,000 supporters who consider Mort’s casting to be “disrespectful.” The description states:
“Nina Simone, dubbed The High Priestess of Soul, is an American icon and a music legend. Because of this, it is without a doubt straight up disrespectful to Ms. Simone and her legacy to get an actress who looks nothing like she did to portray her in a movie about her life. Getting light complexioned actors to play the roles of dark complexioned historical figures is not only a sign of blatant disrespect to the persons they are portraying, but it is also disrespectful to their families, to history, to the people who look like the persons being whitewashed, and to the intelligence of the audience. For too long Hollywood has gotten away with this practice of revisionist history and it is time that we let our voices be heard, be it by this petition or by boycotting the movie if no change has been made as to who will portray Nina Simone. This is not a diss to Zoe Saldana. She is an excellent actress, but this movie role so much bigger than her undeniable talent.”
Mort says the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting in mid-October, was “not intended to be a biography in the strict sense, but instead a love story about an artist’s journey unto herself.” Unfortunately for the naysayers, there seems to be no sign of the project slowing down.
So, you be the judge: Has the “Replace Zoe Saldana” petition gone too far or do its supporters have a valid argument?
Let us know in the comments section below!