Throughout her career, Zoe Saldana has tackled roles that have earned her praise. Yet, when it was announced that the Afro-Latina actress would be portraying late music and Civil Rights Movement icon Nina Simone, the news gave people pause. Later, when a sneak peek of the 2016 film Nina circulated, fans of the dark-skinned jazz singer were outraged to see Zoe Saldana’s skin painted darker with an altered nose. Production, as well as Saldana, were accused of Blackface, but they pressed on and released the film anyway.
Zoe Saldana addressed her controversial movie role during a recent interview with Steven Canals, the creator of the acclaimed Netflix series, Pose. “I should have never played Nina,” the 42-year-old actress admitted. “I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago – which was a different leverage but it was leverage nonetheless – I should have tried everything in my power to cast a Black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman.”
Nina also starred David Oyelowo and Mike Epps. The storyline followed the life of the complicated yet talented performer and how she balanced fame, her mental health struggles, her desire for change, and her personal relationships. Watch Saldana’s interview below.
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Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) sits down with “Pose” (@poseonfx) creator and executive producer Steven Canals (@stevencanals) to chat about Afro-Latinidad, colorism in the Latinx community, Nina Simone, and more. #AfroLatinx #AfroLatinidad #BESE #ZoeSaldana #StevenCanals #Pose #PoseFX #AfroLatinos #Dominican #PuertoRican