Nina Simone's Daughter Defends Zoe Saldana From "Unfortunate" Biopic Backlash

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Nina Simone's daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, has come to the defense of Zoe Saldana, whom trolls have recently taken to task for her portrayal of the iconic singer in the forthcoming biopic, Nina

When the movie's poster and trailer were released in early March, Simone fans were angered to see Saldana made up in what looked uncomfortably close to blackface and sporting a prosthetic nose, approximating the appearance of a woman she doesn't particularly resemble.

Read more: Zoe Saldana's Makeup in the New Nina Simone Trailer Is Making People Really Uncomfortable

"It's unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture," Simone Kelly, who's long been against the film, told Time. "It's clear she brought her best to this project, but unfortunately she's being attacked when she's not responsible for any of the writing or the lies."

Zoe Saldana, the actress who will play Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic, Nina.
Source: 
John Salangsang/AP

The epicenter of the casting outrage was the Simone estate's own Twitter account, which responded to the actress's tweet of a quote from the civil rights activist with the request that she "please take Nina's name out of [her] mouth. For the rest of [her] life." The tweet, according to Simone Kelly, was published by a friend of the family

Although Simone Kelly feels badly for Saldana, whom she says doesn't deserve the backlash, she is upset by the project's overarching failure to stick to Simone's story. Nina inadequately represents her mother's life, she explained, but she's grateful to the makers of the Oscar-nominated documentary, What Happened Miss Simone? for presenting the real story.

"I'm no longer bothered by it because the truth is already out there," she told Time.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

MORE FROM

The 'RuPaul's Drag Race' finale format change just saved the show from predictability

Predictability seized the last few seasons of 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' but season nine's finale flipped the script.

Journalist Kevin Powell sues 'All Eyez on Me' filmmakers, claims they stole from his Tupac articles

More bad news for the embattled Tupac Shakur biopic.

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

The 'RuPaul's Drag Race' finale format change just saved the show from predictability

Predictability seized the last few seasons of 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' but season nine's finale flipped the script.

Journalist Kevin Powell sues 'All Eyez on Me' filmmakers, claims they stole from his Tupac articles

More bad news for the embattled Tupac Shakur biopic.

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale