The Ghost of Nina Simone Just Trolled Zoe Saldana on Twitter Like The Fucking Big Time

Illustration for article titled The Ghost of Nina Simone Just Trolled Zoe Saldana on Twitter Like The Fucking Big Time

The ghost of her highness Nina Simone is not even with Zoe Saldana right now.

Okay, it’s the official Twitter account for Nina Simone’s estate, but that’s how to troll. Damn.

Saldana has been in—pardon my Portuguese—deep fucking shit with the estate more or less since 2012, when she was first cast as the musician and activist in Nina, a biopic centered around Simone’s relationship with her manager, Clifton Henderson.


Simone’s daughter, who also goes by Simone, has been quoted with saying she’s not super happy about the entire enterprise. To make it even worse, Saldana noticeably wears a prosthetic nose, a textured wig, and dark makeup, (i.e., what can easily be considered a modern version of blackface) in a movie almost exclusively made by white people.

The tweet was sent only one day after the trailer and poster for Nina were revealed on March 1 — and the whole thing looks a bit, well, “questionable.”

The quote Saldana referenced in her original tweet is considered one of the musician and activist’s most famous quotes. The line was heavily featured in the doc What Happened, Miss Simone?

The film was nominated for a 2016 Oscar, but lost out to Amy, a documentary about the British singer Amy Winehouse, who passed away in 2011.


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The real problem with casting Zoe Saldana is that she has benefitted from white supremacy in the industry; Nina was victimized by it. Though they are both black women, they represent almost entirely different existences, and it is this contradiction many black women have the most trouble with.

I get that colorism is easier to digest, and perhaps it’s a proxy for white supremacy. But we have to be explicit here. Zoe has not just benefitted from being lighter than Nina. She has a slimmer nose, thinner lips, long, flowing, straight(ened) hair, thin frame, and a phenotype that otherwise does not read as typically black American. The closer along the scale you are to whiteness, generally the more you reap its rewards in this white supremacist society.

And Zoe has done precisely that over the likes of much more talented black women woth darker skin, fuller figures, and kinky hair. She’s been able to land sexy roles, be a leading woman, and get steady work laegely because of her appeal to more conventional (i.e. white) beauty standards.

Nina’s life, art, and creative inspiration *hinged* on her exclusion from this club. *That* is the disgrace with this casting.