India.Arie Sounds Off On Nina Simone Biopic: Zoe Saldana Looks “Ridiculous”

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(Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

The Biopic on jazz singer Nina Simone has hit a sour note for India.Arie. The R&B singer recently came out against the film’s producers for casting Zoe Saldana to play the role of Simone, whose dark skin and wide nose stands in contrast to Saldana’s features. 

India.Arie posted her thoughts to Ninasimone.com after seeing a picture of Saldana in costume for her role in the film, Nina

“SO TODAY I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone…” she wrote (caps hers). “AND I THINK THEY ARE RIDICULOUS!”

The image that sent India to the internet to express her feelings showed Saldana in what appears to be a prosthetic nose as well as makeup to make her skin darker. [See image here]  

“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?”

While Arie called herself “Nina Simone’s physical heir apparent,” she said that she didn’t feel like she was the best person to play Simone either. 

“If I ever FELT I was truly CALLED to play her, I would,” she wrote. “And maybe Zoe Saldana REALLY is BEING CALLED SPIRITUALLY TO PLAY THIS ROLE …

But I DO NOT LIKE these PICTURES. AT ALL.”

Although Arie made a point to say that she trusts that Saldana could pull of Simone “energetically,” she still nominated another. 

“I will END this by saying I think VIOLA DAVIS should be playing Nina Simone,” she said. Viola Davis was nominated for an Academy award for her roles in Doubt and her role as Aibileen Clark in The Help.  –Erik Parker, CBS Local

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