Zoe Saldana Claps Back At ‘Nina’ Critics: ‘There’s No One Way To Be Black’

Published: Saturday 18th Jun 2016 by Rashad
nina-simone-zoe saldana-thatgrapejuice

Since word of Zoe Saldana‘s inclusion as the lead of the Cynthia Mort-directed biopic on the legendary singer/songwriter Nina Simone, the film has been cloaked in controversy.

From esteemed movie critics to fellow singers and actors alike, the movie’s been berated by many who feel Saldana’s casting is not only inappropriate, but also speaks to a larger issue of colorism and racism within the entertainment industry.

After the likes of Queen Latifah and Paula Patton came to Zoe’s defense, the ‘Colombiana’ star is finally clapping back at critics herself and slamming those not in favor of her portrayal of Simone.  Get into her words from ‘Allure’ magazine below:


Saldana via Allure:

“There’s no one way to be black,” Saldana said. “I’m black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am black. I’m raising black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”

She added, “The fact that we’re talking about her, that Nina Simone is trending? We f—ing won. For so many years, nobody knew who the f— she was. She is essential to our American history. As a woman first, and only then as everything else.

“I never saw her as unattractive. Nina looks like half my family. But if you think the [prosthetic] nose I wore was unattractive, then maybe you need to ask yourself, what do you consider beautiful? Do you consider a thinner nose beautiful, so the wider you get, the more insulted you become?”

Your thoughts?

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  1. Authentic June 18, 2016

    IDK what to say…. But being real it’s about the performance she gives as an actor im most concerned with… With that being said politics must end when it comes to who gets what gigs in entertainment . Yes Zoe your black but we are vast in appearance. Zoe should be aware her fine features allow privilege….

    • Love June 19, 2016

      I don’t agree with her saying no one knew who Nina Simmons is until now because I been known about her since high school and anybody who knows about Nina know that she’s very proud of her dark skin, big nose and lips and she’s have made that very clear and that’s part of her whole legacy so to have someone the total opposite of her who doesn’t understand her struggle to play her and have to wear fake nose and lips and have to make their skin darker to play her when they’re thousands of other dark skin actress who actually identified with Nina and she probably helps them loves their dark skin and big nose and lips is a smack on the face to Ninas legacy and everything she’s stand for. I also found it funny how Zoe is all of sudden black when a couple years ago she didn’t identify herself as any race but now that it’s beneficial she’s black.

    • wrosy3 June 19, 2016

      So what if she has fine features the hate comes from her own black people in America yall hate anyone from another country who is black mix same old tired story African Americans cannot accept their own black people

  2. danyboo6 June 18, 2016

    I dont think it was about her being culturally black enough but the stigma in America and across the world that lighter is exceptable and darker is to strong, unexceptable and uncommercial or unmarketable to an extent is the reason the beautiful zoe got the backlash she did. I believe nina simone story and the reason she wasnt as popular as she should have been was because of her darker tone. To not give the role to a person that really could portray that about her is Ludacris. Usually when you see darker women in lead roles in motion pictures, theyre slaves maids or cameos. So thats my stance. More power to zoe. Black is beauitful in every shade mixed in with any other subculturals of the human race. ???

    • Indie June 18, 2016

      I Agree with every word you said!

    • June 19, 2016

      word.

  3. Bam Bam June 18, 2016

    I don’t think she gets it. It was not about her being black, it was about colorism and the fact that they put a prosthetic nose on her was the problem and they couldn’t just find a woman who has that nose naturally…. At this point it’s like beating a dead horse. She doesn’t get it, she’s not going to get it, and she doesn’t have to get it. If she wants to know why people are upset by the casting she can pick up a book.

    • wrosy3 June 19, 2016

      Why the f*** everything is a problem with you black Americans will you people ever be happy it’s sad and pathetic to see how you complain about white people being racist when you hate your own people so bad it’s always the dark skin hate the light skin you not black enough you got that part because you have curly hair and black foreigners get it worst ayesha Rihanna lupita zoe anyone who comes from another country who is black you mother fuckers hate get a life now yall blame whites now it’s anyone who mix race what’s f****** next if yall want dark skin go back to Africa somewhere and find the darkest people to live amongst

      • Bam Bam June 19, 2016

        Just like Zoe you can read a book, watch a documentary, or not. I don’t care anymore. There is too much information out to continuously be trying to educate people when you are being willfully ignorant. You can be ignorant and I can call you ignorant. If you don’t like it please take my advice from before. Have a blessed one. ?

    • Anne June 19, 2016

      Right! Either she’s playing dumb or really missing the point. Instead of casting a naturally looking ethnic actress, the producers preferred to cast someone who needed a prosthetic nose and blackface in order to look the part. There are few opportunities for ethnic looking black actresses and portraying Nina should have been one. But instead they’d rather cast someone who needs cosmetic assistance to look the part instead of giving one of the many ethnic looking actors that opportunity. No one would have complained if the ethnic features were REAL. It’s the fact that they would go to the extreme of giving her FALSE features instead of casting one of the many black actresses who could have naturally looked the part and are equally if not more capable of giving a good acting performance.

  4. BEYSTAN_ SINCE 1997 June 18, 2016

    There is no one way of being black…. However it does not require you putting on black face or putting on a prosthetic nose. That’s all I’ve got!

    • What Now June 19, 2016

      I read this on a Sunday for a reason. Preach .

  5. MusicLife June 18, 2016

    But there is still one way to be of any race or color and put on black face Zoe ????

  6. Reddish tran ivy blokz Need UK timely Ukuyi June 18, 2016

    I don’t think she understand it of what she said

  7. Rih Up June 19, 2016

    Wait, didn’t Zoe once say she wasn’t black. Saying she doesn’t want to be labeled because she’s a mixture of things, which is Haitian and Spanish.

  8. Nate June 19, 2016

    These comments are giving me life! Yeah, the b**** is clueless. And we are not in an age of explaining to the clueless… It is what it is. This shady b**** went to Allure magazine talking about blackness, she had no balls to go to Ebony or Esscence to say this? Nope. Cry me a river girl, you played yourself. The shady ass quote about her making Nina relevant again…… I can’t. No, Zoe, you’re unattractive inside and out.

  9. King Mark111 June 19, 2016

    It has nothing to do with black, her being pretty, known or her the nose. It’s Hollywood not getting a woman that naturally looks like Nina and going out their way to the point of black facing and fake nose instead of finding an actress that hits the role. You didn’t “win” because no one is going to see this film, hint making it a flop and the studio losing money.

  10. King Mark111 June 19, 2016

    Some blacks want to turn their backs on the community, yet want that same community to support them. I like Zoe, but Latin people are filled with self hate and deniel. They don’t even know that they’re mixed people, they think they been around since day one when they only been a thing no more than 500 years ago. I seen them being shocked that they have White and African blood in them, hahaha da phuck?!

    • Reply At Your Own Risk. Leave The Dumbfuckery At The Door ~ Tyler June 19, 2016

      It’s easy to say that ur full of self hate as well.

      February 4, 2016 at 1:17 pm
      King Mark111 /.\ says:
      Vote

      The obsession! Noticed the only bitter Black girl on here was the ugly dark one and some guy with nappy, dry @ss hair? See when you’re good looking and a good person, you don’t hate. Just ask Slave_HIVe.
      Reply

      • King Mark111 June 19, 2016

        There were a lot of black girls in that video. I called out the bitter one and pointed out that haters are usually ugly people. Nice try tho HailBussy.

      • Reply At Your Own Risk. Leave The Dumbfuckery At The Door ~ Tyler June 19, 2016

        What does being bitter have to do with ones hair texture or skin tone? Are you trying to say that there’s something wrong with nappy hair and darker skin, LooseBooty?

      • Reply At Your Own Risk. Leave The Dumbfuckery At The Door ~ Tyler June 19, 2016

        So according to you, nappy hair and darker skin are traits that “ugly people” have. Ain’t that right, LooseBowls??

  11. Reply At Your Own Risk. Leave The Dumbfuckery At The Door ~ Tyler June 19, 2016

    If that’s the case, then why did she feel like it was appropriate to dress up in black face?

  12. Reply At Your Own Risk. Leave The Dumbfuckery At The Door ~ Tyler June 19, 2016

    The problem is that prosthetic nose and makeup. If Zoe understood what Nina stood for, maybe she’d understand.

  13. Thando June 19, 2016

    She doesn’t get it. Like I said when I was announced that she’ll be playing Nina: there are plenty of documentaries, interviews on youtube about the great Nina Simone. We don’t need racist hollywood motion pictures to teach us about her. They are authentic and richer than any movie could ever wish to be. Go to youtube or pick up a book if you’re truly interested about life of Eunice Kathleen Waymon.

  14. MUSICHEAD June 19, 2016

    The fact that she had to wear black face makeup and wear a prosthetic nose is my main issue with the casting of Zoe Zeldana. They might as well have casted a white actress if they were gonna do all that. The filmmakers and studio obviously felt that a woman who closely resembled Nina Simone would not be good enough hence the struggle of Nina Simone altogether. I will not be supporting this film.

  15. B_Roni June 19, 2016

    Lol Zoe is a phenomenal actress. Now if one of my faves rih or bey were casted, we would see all kinds of yaaaass in this comment section smh. I’m gonna go see the movie.

  16. Dem Lessers June 19, 2016

    If only they cast Michaela Coel everything would be fine.

    • MUSICHEAD June 19, 2016

      She’s too young and would not have been able to convey the depth of an adult Nina Simone onscreen. Nicki Micheaux would have been a better choice.

  17. blue June 19, 2016

    just a little food for thought: why dont people get this enraged when a white person has to change their natural features in order to play a certain part?

    • MUSICHEAD June 19, 2016

      I’d love to answer that. Can you give me an example of a white person changing their features to play a racially significant character whose physical characteristics were a huge part of their art?

      • Bam Bam June 19, 2016

        Yes please do. Ee are dying to hear.

  18. Msan June 19, 2016

    I am Afro Latino myself So I totally understand the Black in Race …Latino in Culture …There is so many people who do not know that There were more Slaves in the Carribbean Island than in America…but we Latino don’t make it any better when we keep shouting “I’m Latino, I’m not Black” so basically you distancing yourself not knowing the only true thing that separates you from black people is Food, Language and Your Last Name…the struggle is still same….

    However I usually rock with my Afro Latino and yes I agree about the standards of beauty, BUT if you listen to Jazz and Soul in depth you would know who Nina Simone is she wasn’t a Superstar on level of Whitney Houston but that doesn’t diminish her international influence, her being an artist you have to discover adds to her value

    About the casting, Zoe Saldana who is very talented and beautiful seems to be a little oblivious to this point …The studio seemed to went out of its way to hire you…There so many “Ready Made Actresses” who already possesses the Nose, The Skin Tone and the demeanor of Nina Simone without all of the heavy prosthetics and make up…Nicki Mauchnex (The Mother on “Lincoln Heights) is a perfect match…

    Of Course Zoe Saldana is going to defend herself because as an Actress, you don’t want anyone to say you are not qualified for a role but you have ask yourself did they hire me because I’m A List Actor, Because of my Skin Tone or because they wanna see Pretty Girl play Dress up with the Dark Side (which is Beautiful but not by Hollywood Standards)

    Biopics are very Senstive and Emotion Driven movies and automatically come with Critics…Because Producer wanna go with High Profile stars, we barely get Angela Bassett as Tina Turner, Jennifer Lopez as Selena… All who where not Hollywood popular at the time…sometimes getting a known actress throws it off because their off camera personality or other high profile roles blind side the audience….but hey I’m all Cried out at this Point…thanks for reading my Novel lol

    • Nate June 19, 2016

      Beautiful novel! Good read.
      “..her being an artist you have to discover adds to her value” so true.

  19. Danzou June 19, 2016

    It makes me proud to see so many of you actually understanding what’s going but it makes me equally as annoyed to see so many of you blatantly ignoring the situation. Zoe is using BLACK FACE. WHY WOULD THEY CAST A LIGHT WOMAN WITH EUROPEAN FEATURES? WHERE IS THE SENSE? That’s the problem in Hollywood. There are no opportunities for dark women.

  20. Aj June 19, 2016

    There isn’t one way to be black and yet she couldn’t find it if punched her in the face. I never found Ms. Simone unattractive but Zoe’s blackface and prosthetic nose performance was a mockery to her memory. We’re supposed to thank this misguided heifer for blessing us with her portrayal and bringing Nina to the silver screen. May she go away quietly and never be seen again.

  21. eric June 19, 2016

    One way NOT to be black is to be made up in thick blackface. Zoe is a great actress and I’ve liked her since Center Stage, but she really looks terrible in this movie. I want her to admit she made a mistake and just put it behind her.

  22. Kerry M Voss August 4, 2020

    Y’all didn’t say anything when she was green.

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