Zoe Saldana Is Responding to People's Outrage Over Her Controversial Role

March 3rd 2016

Taylor Bell

Actress Zoe Saldana has responded to the surmounting criticism of her reportedly donning blackface in her upcoming role as late singer Nina Simone, according to The Root, and now even the Simone estate is reacting.

Saldana, a light-skin black Latina, was rebuked by members of the Black community after the trailer and poster for the new biopic "Nina" was recently released. In both the poster and trailer, Saldana has reportedly darkened her skin and a wider prosthetic nose in order to match the looks of Simone, Rolling Stone reports.

Zoe Saldana in "Nina"

In the past week people have debated and written think pieces on the decision to cast a black Latina to play one of the most iconic black women in music. Yet, despite the criticism, the actress summed up her feelings in one post on social media.

Saldana proudly posted a quote from Simone on Tuesday.

However, the internet was quick to respond.

Among the first to respond was Simone's estate. The people behind Simone's official Twitter account tweeted back at the actress to stop talking about the singer.

This wasn't the first time Simone's family has spoken up, ABC reports. In 2012, Simone's daughter, Simone Kelly, told The New York Times that she was concerned over Saldana's casting for the role. She said she was a fan of the actress but preferred someone like Viola Davis, while her mother pictured Whoopi Goldberg for the role:

“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice."

Fans of Simone soon piled on the criticism, with fans upset that the movie did not cast an actual dark-skinned actress to play the leading role.

Saldana initially faced backlash in 2012 when images from the movie surfaced, according to Page Six.

Aware of the controversy and people's criticism, Saldanatold InStyle magazine that she originally did not believe she was the best person to portray Simone, according to the Huffington Post.

"I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” Saldana told InStyle magazine. "An artist is colorless, genderless… It’s more complex than just ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic black woman.’ The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it."

But the controversy surrounding Saldana's new biopic again points to Hollywood's lack of diversity.

As ATTN: previously reported a similar situation happened earlier this year when white actor Joseph Fiennes was cast to play king of pop and black man Michael Jackson in an half-hour television show.

We already know there is a shortage of black actors represented in film and television. According to the 2015 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, minorities are still widely underrepresented in film and television. Also, the report found that white lead roles outnumber those of minorities in film and television 2-1 and 6-1 respectively. And remember that whole #OscarsSoWhite controversy?

Although Saldana is a minority, many find it offensive that Hollywood would cast an actress, whose features are not representative of the performer, to play one of the most iconic dark-skinned black women.

You can watch the full trailer: