India Arie Speaks Out About the Nina Simone Biopic

Photo of Nina Simone

In a blog post written for Nina Simone’s online home, singer India Arie revealed that she was once approached to portray the iconic singer and activist in her now controversial biopic. Of course, Mary J. Blige went on to take the role only to ultimately back out and be replaced by Zoe Saldana. Much of the Internet has been booing and hissing the casting and now India Arie has joined the chorus.

Can’t say that I blame when considering Zoe’s make up and the ridiculous script (love story between Nina and an out gay man) are both giving Flex Alexander as Michael Jackson teases.

From Nina Simone’s official Web site:

WHAT I FEEL ABOUT THE NINA SIMONE MOVIE: People have been asking me for weeks, months, years about a Nina Simone movie, when I heard about Zoe Saldana being cast I reserved judgement, you NEVER know what People are MEANT to do.SO TODAY I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone…AND I THINK THEY ARE RIDICULOUS!

Yes there should be a movie made, and YES they should have chosen someone who LOOKS like Nina Simone, ESPECIALLY since her RACE played such a PIVOTAL role in WHO, WHAT and WHY, she was. THAT ASIDE for a second, this just looks WEIRD, it looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose … REALLY?!!!! DOES NOT THE ONE NINA SIMONE’S LEGACY DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS? If they were going to pick a person who looks NOTHING like Nina Simone … why not her daughter Simone *shrug* just saying …As hard as Nina had to fight for what she wanted BECAUSE she was black and looked the way she did … THIS looks like a parody. If it has to be FORCED this hard something’s not right! I am VERY opinionated about music, I can dissect VOCALS ALL DAY, I don’t KNOW ACTING LIKE THAT!

But I trust that through her obvious admiration of Nina, that Zoe Saldana can pull off the portrayal ENERGETICALLY …But these images … just make me feel … SAD. Not because I want to play Nina Simone but because IT FEELS OUT OF PLACE WITH WHAT NINA SIMONE MEANS IN AN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORICAL CONTEXT!!!! (yes I yelled just now – I am emotional about OTHER things today, and I’m riding the wave of that, but this IS WHAT I FEEL…) I have always been OPEN to playing Nina, but I never saw its as my RIGHT! I am clearly Nina Simone’s Physical Heir Apparent, THAT doesn’t mean I SHOULD play her, its been tossed around A LOT, for a LONG TIME. I back down because I feel her legacy deserves better than a FIRST TIME MOVIE ACTRESS, I’m like that about my heroes. If I ever FELT I was truly CALLED to play her, I would. And maybe Zoe Saldana REALLY is BEING CALLED SPIRITUALLY TO PLAY THIS ROLE …But I DO NOT LIKE these PICTURES. AT ALL.

(The views contained herein are solely the views of their respective authors, and do not express the views of TV One. TV One does not take responsibility for their content.)

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