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Nina Simone's DAUGHTER STILL Upset About UNAUTHORIZED Biopic And Zoe Saldana's CASTING

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Nina Simone's daughter Simone has spoken out about the unauthorized biopic being made about her mother's life, the casting of Zoe Saldana and how the director "backdoored" her way into the Nina Simone story. Get the story inside....

Zoe Saldana was pictured for the first time on the set (above) of the upcoming Nina Simone biopic.  And lots of people are pissy about this costume & makeup someone has decked her out in.

And that's not all.  During a very interesting interview with EBONY, Simone, a Broadway actress and daughter of Nina Simone (shown above), gave her feelings about the casting of Zoe Saldana (shown at the top on the set as "Nina") and explained how someone could simply write a movie about her mom without her consent or involvement.  Here are the highlights:

Can you clarify your feelings about the casting of Zoe Saldana to play your mother?

Simone: I love Zoe Saldana’s work. I’ve seen some of her movies more than once and really enjoy what she brings to the screen. As an actress I respect her process, but I also know that there are many actresses out there, known or not, who would be great as my mother. The one actress that I’ve had in my heart for a very long time, whose work I’m familiar with already, is Kimberly Elise. Many people have spoken to me about Viola. I love her look. I love her energy. Both of the actresses that I’ve mentioned are women of color, are women with beautiful, luscious lips and wide noses, and who know their craft. I also have no problem introducing someone we’ve never heard of before who can play my mother.

This project that’s going forward, you’ve talked about having little to nothing to do with it. How does that happen?

S: I’ve been asking myself that question. How does that happen? As I said on my blog, when the announcement came out approximately six years ago that Mary J. Blige had been cast to play Nina Simone, I heard it along with everyone else and I was very concerned. How does someone just decide to do a story about someone and completely bypass family? Completely bypass her representatives? We offered to get involved with all the stuff that we have, from the music, to the pictures, to her writings, to connecting them with the stories of many people who were close to my mother, and we were ignored

So you’re not a gatekeeper. So you’re not someone who’s trying to whitewash your mother’s legacy is what you’re saying?

S: No, not at all. Her life is educational, inspirational, entertaining, and downright shocking at times. My mother was good at shocking people. She enjoyed it and she did it well. So why do we need to embellish, to build a tall tale? That is what Cynthia Mort has done. She has taken my mother’s name and then bought the life rights to her male nurse turned manager, Clifton Henderson’s life. In my opinion, she came in through the back door. I was saying, come in the front door, let’s have a cup of tea, let’s talk about it. Let’s work together.

I asked her ‘How did you get in contact with Clifton?’ She said she googled him. I asked her ‘If you googled him, I was starring on Broadway at the time. I’m her only child. I’m not hard to find. Why didn’t you contact me?’ It’s interesting because it took a little while, but the truth finally came out. She told me she was told not to contact me. My mother and I had our ups and downs, like any family, but we loved each other until the end, and I wouldn’t try to edit our troubles out of any project.

When Cynthia and I ended the call, we agreed to talk again the next day. I felt like we’d broken some really good ground that we’d created a place from which we could continue to communicate. But when I called into the conference call the next day, I was the only one on the line.


The film's director avoiding Simone is pretty shady.  Will you watch this?


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her statement was a little

her statement was a little sketchy at first to me, its like she's saying Zoe isn't black enough for the role. And another thing I hate critics!!! stfu can you do a better job than Zoe? don't say someone shouldn't do something if you CAN'T do it! this girl is an actress for a reason I bet all of you said the same thing about Jamie Foxx for Ray "he's too silly, he can't be Ray Charles" and look what happened he played TF out of that role and got an Oscar out of it as well. But anyways if they needed a darker actress why didn't they just hire one like Nia Long, Taraji, etc..instead of doing black face, that's also sketchy. Don't let your bias stop being open to another actress possibly doing the role justice, If she can act it let her do her thing!! and I think the controversy is happening just because first the actress they picked. But also because they're falsifying her life that's an issue that needs to be resolved legally. and put the film on hold or something!!

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tom113's picture

This is just about as bad as

This is just about as bad as Halle Berry being asked to play Aretha Franklin. When you do biopics I always thought you would want the actress or actor to look like that person in real life..its about more than just a recognizable face because at the end of the day you want to see Zoe and be like she pulled off Nina Simone perfectly and I dont see that happening.
keqi's picture

Zoe can act point blank and

Zoe can act point blank and she will do a great job and by the way Zoe nose is kind of already wide to me. Zoe Saldana, Sanaa Lathan Thandie Newton, Carmen Ejogo,Regina King are the best of the best younger black/ethnic females actresses out right now. I would include Kerry Washington I like her but she tends to over act at times to me. Sorry but Nina Simone daughter's pick w/ Kimberly Elise will do for a Life Time Movie about her mom or movie of the week on a prime time channel. Zoe is at the top of her game and will bring more attention to the movie. Kimberly Elise is not a very well known actress across the board. Oh!Viola Davis also overacts to me as well. People I like who are too old like Pam Grier,Lynn Whitefield,Lynette Mckee and Phylicia Rashad are also good actresses but are past their prime for this role. I hope this movie is just true to who Nina Simone was. Do us proud Zoe!
Shay's picture

It really disgusts me how

It really disgusts me how this biopic is being made. Not only in casting Zoe, but in completely sidestepping the family and trying to profit off of this incredible woman's legacy. I can rattle off a bunch of actresses that would have fit the part including Viola Davis. Jill Scott, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, and Alfre Woodard. But no, they wanted to pick up Zoe Saldana's famished arse, slap on some clay arse makeup and a party city wig and call her Nina. I am not surprised one bit. That's hollywood for ya!

Lauryn Hill would have been

Lauryn Hill would have been the best of all choices. Look and vocals but she is too damn crazy to carry out the performance that could get her an Oscar
lola69's picture

I think it was a great

I think it was a great choice. she is a good actress. Kimberly Elise is not a good actress and she does not have the name recognition. This will bring poeple of other generations out to see the movie
lola69's picture

I agree with Nina Simone's

I agree with Nina Simone's daughter. The thing that gets me is woman of Hispanic heritage can always land black roles or be on the covers of black magazine's. However black women are hardly portrayed in Hispanic median. If you do see hispanics of darker skin, they are always as the maids in the novelas.
olgurl25's picture

That's not my momma and I'm

That's not my momma and I'm pissed! No diss to Zoe or her talent, but that embarrasingly disrespectful makeup job they did to try to make her look like a 100% Black woman not only violates Nina's memory, but make Zoe look like a fool. Hell no I'm not supporting this mess. I'll borrow a bootleg first!
PinkyDaGoddess's picture

Not taking anything away from

Not taking anything away from the girl Zoe....but, I do agree that they should have casted it a little better as far as natural looks. I will probably watch it, just to see if Zoe can possibly pull it off.
Ethel Mertz's picture

I don't even know why Zoe

I don't even know why Zoe accepted the part in the first place....she has to know that even she is not the right pick....this is the bullshit hollywood always conjures up and rams down our throat and expect us to swallow this crap....so disappointed!
lifeisgood's picture

1 word tragic.

1 word tragic.
TeaNicole's picture

That makeup on Zoe looks

That makeup on Zoe looks pretty down right horrible... If this is their idea of giving her full lips and making her resemble Nina, then they need to think again. When she looked in the mirror, she should have QUIT!

The casting of Zoe Saldana is

The casting of Zoe Saldana is so disappointing. She WILL NOT be able to pull off Nina Simone. That make-up looks like a freaking tragedy!!!! Nina Simone was a beautiful dark skinned wide nosed, strong faced African American woman. You can't just throw a wig and some damn baked clay on a self-identified HALF DOMINICAN/HALF PUERTO RICAN woman with no musical talent to speak of and think that she can play a great. It's really convenient how Zoe S. has never identified herself as African American, but when I role comes up to play one then she's suddenly a black woman. I won't be seeing this one because she looks straight foolish in that damn wig.
The Real Thing's picture

Exactly..I like Zoe as an

Exactly..I like Zoe as an actress but Imma have to agree with u about the convenient part... I recall an interview she did for a magazine after starring in Drumline... They asked about her take on the on lack of films being offered for AA... Her response was extra rude and snarky as if pissed that they even identified her as that ... She went on n' on explaining why she ain't BLACK!! Hehe...nice post I see it's not just me who peeps that vibe frm her. Nevertheless wishing the best for her career but good or bad I'm not supporting this at all!!
Like Really's picture

I do wish the best for Zoe S

I do wish the best for Zoe S as well because I identify her as an AA woman even if she shuns that label. She's a hypocrit though for taking this role. And contrary to many of the comments here, Zoe CANNOT ACT. She's a light weight who needs to stick to romantic comedies that non one sees.
The Real Thing's picture

Nina Simone's daughter is

Nina Simone's daughter is GORGEOUS!!!!!
holmesa925's picture

i would be REALLY upset...not

i would be REALLY upset...not sure i'm going to watch this one...love Zoe Saldana's skills, but the fact that Nina Simone's only child was not involved, means this will not be an accurate reflection of her life.
diamond2012's picture

I think Zoe is a great

I think Zoe is a great actress and love her work, but I don't see her as Nina Simone. They should rethink that one.
Keys's picture

Not knocking Saldana's skills

Not knocking Saldana's skills but surely Viola Davis, Lauryn Hill, Anika Noni Rose, or even Jill Scott would've been a more appropriate choice.
Realist's picture

I hope they get better makeup

I hope they get better makeup and hair for Zoe. I'll check it out. I don't know much about Nina Semone.
Tagirl27's picture

as interesting as nina's life

as interesting as nina's life was this movie is going to flop just by casting alone zoe to portray the great Nina hello Lauryn hill or alfre woodard would be the only two i would consider whats next precious as oprah sometimes as an actress u have to no when to say no...trust if she didnt win an award she would of never gotten such a part...btw r kelly ex wife would of been a dead ringer just train her the same way they trying to with this zoe .....oh sinnerman where ya gone run too
chakacan's picture


Reign's picture

Obama is dominating Romney in

Obama is dominating Romney in the final debate......
LisaRaye's Subconsciousness™®©'s picture

*note.. This crap already

*note.. This crap already looks hard to believe or relate too...ZOE looks like a Dam fool in that sideshow BoB/Weezy Fro they just plopped on Her head!...ugh!!
Like Really's picture

Don't forget about the STUCKO

Don't forget about the STUCKO & CLAY PUTTY they smeared on her face! She gave them the MIDDLE FINGER when they asked her to GAIN weight!
tori's picture

LoL..I Bet poor thang luvs

LoL..I Bet poor thang luvs lookin' like a Designer A$$ ToothPick!! Smhlol...
Like Really's picture

Imma ahh Diva huh? Chile plz

Imma ahh Diva huh? Chile plz her ONLY daughter has even been discredited... And most prefer her list of names off top bcuz they have the total package.. With a natural Look and sum hella actin chops that in my opinion are BETTA than ZOE!! *at least for this role) smhlol!!
Like Really's picture

Wow-all this negativity being

Wow-all this negativity being directed at Zoe is a shame. She IS an actress, after all. There's more to telling a person's story in film than just looking like them. I love MJB but she is not an actress. It would be nice if Zoe channels all this hate & uses it to play the HELL outta this role.

I agree, but if you can't

I agree, but if you can't VISUALLY connect the actress with the person they are portraying, it's hard to follow the movie, no matter how GREAT of an actress they are. I have a feeling this movie will snag Zoe an Oscar (which we ALL know is the ONLY reason she took the role in the 1st place)!!
tori's picture

No. it HELPS for actors to

No. it HELPS for actors to share a resemblance to the person they're portraying--its not a must. After all, they use tons of makeup anyway. But I agree with you on the OSCAR thing. After Avatar she's hungry for one of dem lil statues :-)


tori's picture

Nina Simone Daughter sexy as

Nina Simone Daughter sexy as hell. AND SHE NATURALLLL, AND SHE NATURALLLL, AND SHE NATURALL..... GIVE ME A NATURAL HAIRED BLACK WOMAN AND ID BE THE HAPPIEST MAN ALIVE!!! It's damn rare in my city to find oneeee, most the black women here want to look like a chocolate covered white woman
LetsGetIt's picture

sexy & inexpensive lingerie

sexy & inexpensive lingerie www.sweetdarkee.com 25% off everything!!! check it out :-)
SweetDarkee's picture

She looks absolutely

She looks absolutely ridiculous!!! Will not be watching this foolishness. smmfh......
Ms.Thangfromthe5thflr's picture

That movie gon' turn out like

That movie gon' turn out like one of those BLACKFACE QUENTIN TYRANT-TINO movies!! Is that PUTTY on Zoe's face? I guess ALFRED WOODARD, PHYLICIA RASHAD, VIOLA DAVIS, TARAJI P. HENSON, SANAA LATHAN, HELL even OPRAH & the rest of *BLACK* Hollywood were busy??
tori's picture

Kinda get the feeling she

Kinda get the feeling she wants to get paid. Zoe, doesn't look or feel the part...but if she can Act the part, that's what counts. Mary J Blige can sing and has soul but can't act AT ALL.....(and that's my girl too)
LisaRaye's Subconsciousness™®©'s picture

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