The family of Nina Simone (left) is having a fit that Zoe Zaldana (right) was cast to play the singer in a biopic.
Simone's dark complexion and traditionally African features were central to her identity and concept of black beauty, so casting someone with Saldana's more European appearance is galling, said Miriam J. Petty, an assistant professor in the radio-television-film department at Northwestern University.
"It's disrespectful and demonstrates the depth of the ignorance of the person making the film of the very subject of the film," she said.
The Simone estate tweeted Wednesday: "Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing."
Why would you want to choose Nina Simone as a representative of having a classical African look? These Afrocentrists seem to be saying that "black is ugly." The moviemakers are trying to help. They want to avoid the embarrassment of making a movie that no one watches because of an homely lead.