Zoe Saldana is Playing Nina Simone in a Biopic: Good or Bad?


Timia Whitsey | Contributing Writer

Biopics appear to be the new trend, from the TLC story to the Marilyn Monroe Biography, and now the latest to be released, the Nina Simone Biopic starring Zoe Saldana. Although many attempt, very few biopics have properly portrayed the life of the person of interest. Fingers crossed that this one will change the reputation of them all.

While Zoe Saldana is a  well-known and successful actress, America doubts that she is capable of properly honoring legendary jazz musician, Nina Simone. Most believe that her light skin and her partially Hispanic roots rule her not “black enough” for the role. Others such as Marvin Martin, a victim of racism during the segregation era, are “enraged that she has to use paint in order to darken her skin so that she can better resemble Simone”.

Zoe Saldana fan Shonda Patterson says “What’s the big deal? When she played in Avatar, she was transformed into a creature”. In my opinion, a more versatile actress with a less monotone personality would have been more ideal. However, I have no doubt that Zoe Saldana will deliver. Zoe admits that this “is one of the scariest projects [she had] ever been involved in” seeing as she is most known for her sci-fi and action themed movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Colombiana. Hopefully she can get the job done.

Zoe may surprise us all and do a better job than expected however because of their common personal backgrounds. Saldana has a musical background which is beneficial considering that Nina was a singing superstar. Simone was also an activist and Saldana appears to be extremely passionate when it comes the empowerment of women and black excellence. Above all, Zoe has the utmost confidence that she will play the role to her best ability. ”

At the end of the day, the producers simply chose who they felt would be the best fit” claims film fanatic Tonya Neely. This statement is very accurate and a reminder that just because someone looks like the celebrity does not mean that they are the perfect match for the movie. We saw this in biopic ‘One in a Million’ about singer, Aaliyah Haughton. Her look alike was almost perfect yet actress Alexandra Shipp did not do Aaliyah any justice. All we can do is have faith that movie producers made the right call.

Zoe may be the best candidate for “Nina”. After all, not all biopics have bad reputations. For example, the Malcolm X story starring Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx, who delivered an excellent performance in “Ray”. Overall, the idea behind these biographies is more so to take a further look inside the life of legendary celebrity and less about how the actor playing the celebrity looks. As long as the actor follows the script, the message will still be conveyed. If a viewer is on the fence about the movie like myself, I suggest watching it with an open mind and low expectations. Whether “Nina” receives amazing or horrible reviews, it is one movie that is not worth missing.


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