There has been a lot of controversy about the casting of fair skinned Black Latina Zoe Saldana in the upcoming “biopic” movie about Nina Simone by Cynthia Mort. I am one of the people who think that the casting is a failure. I think that the lack of attempt to involve the family of Simone is a failure. I think that Mort’s using the perspective of a former assistant of Simone’s vs. her career, her struggle to get into music school, her Activism, is a failure. I think that Mort re-imagining Simone’s former assistant, a Gay man, as her lover is a failure and a mockery of Simone and her assistant both. [Simone]
Nina Simone is someone that I think deserves the utmost respect and gravitas. She was very vocal about loving your Blackness and loving your wide nose, full lips and dark skin. She succeeded as an artist with great pains long before Black Love and Black Power were an anthem, in spite of her wide nose, full lips and dark skin. I think that is worth respecting. I think anyone who knows anything about Nina Simone, might consider that. It simply cannot be ignored or dismissed. Not to mention her vigilant work around civil rights. Who would want to ignore this about Nina?
In spite of my disappointment, I thank the filmmakers and all of those who have poor judgement in participating in this project. Thank you for bringing Nina Simone to the front of our minds and the tip of our tongues as she so righteously deserves to be.