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‘Nina’ is More Melanin Deficient Than We Realize

Everybody is screaming about the clap back heard round’ the world, when Nina Simone‘s estate dragged Zoe Saldana like a sack of potatoes.

In the face of all the hate and controversy that Saldana has stirred up she tweeted out a quote from Nina Simone to sum up facing adversity.

Well Nina Simone’s twitter, run by her estate, had a response for Zoe’s tweet and they made sure they @ her so we knew it was real.

Well Damn!

READ: Watch Zoe Saldana in the Awkward and Confusing Trailer for the Nina Simone Biopicgiphy (96)

Clearly Nina Simone reached out from her grave to personally @ Zoe in that clap back!

It might seem harsh but Saldana has genuinely brought this hate on herself, by accepting a role that maybe she can act in but can never realistically or respectfully do justice to.

In a June interview with BET she explained that she had turned down the role at first but not because of her complete physical difference from Nina Simone.

“I did for a year say no as well because I didn’t think I was the right age for the  kind of time in her life that they wanted to mainly tell the story from.”

So it’s pretty obvious that Saldana has no qualms about taking on this role and the form of Black face that came with it, in fact she’s proud of it.

READ: See the Real Nina Simone in Trailer for ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’

She even went as far as to shade the women who had previously turned down the role in the interview saying, “Do I join the party of people that’s afraid to speak up?”

Well it seems like the party of people who have chosen to “speak up” are all very deficient in one important thing; melanin.

Nina Simone’s daughter, actress and singer Lisa Simone Kelly, has never been on board with the film and is currently using social media to encourage people to use the April 22nd release date as a day to screen the film she has supported, What Happened, Miss Simone? She explained that the family was completely excluded from the entire production process for Nina.

Recent reports reveal that not only is the star of the movie on the melanin light side, but so are all of the controlling powers.

In fact it doesn’t seem as if there is a single Black woman with any controlling power in the film.

We almost can’t even be surprised by the fact that the makeup and prosthetic team probably can’t even spell melanin:cqzjmsqff6hj6vx5fljoVera-workingg4d00cvshgqztnbsnbxy u9ep4ppjboljjznaturzFrom top to bottom meet  Key Prosthetic Artist Douglas Noe, Key Makeup Artist Vera Steimberg, Prosthetic Makeup Designer Matthew W. Mungle, and Costume Designer Magali Guidasci. 

This explains so much already, but then we see writer and director, Cynthia Mort, and casting director, Heidi Levitt:
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Are we noticing a trend here; like maybe the absence of any Black people, especially women?

Of all the producers of Nina, David Oyelowo is the only Black person in the mix, and despite how dark he is it’s still not enough melanin to distribute evenly among the crew.

On the heels of #OscarsSoWhite this definitely brings more questions to light. Are the actors of color in the industry only helping to play into the issue of colorism and a lack of representation?

READ: The Academy’s President Cheryl Boone Isaacs Says She’s Disappointed by This Year’s So White Oscars!

As actors they are choosing to be a part of projects like Nina, where they allow an entire non-Black team, write, produce, stage, and design a movie entirely about the legacy of an African American woman who actively fought against colorism.

The problem with Nina isn’t just on the surface, this movie is a prime example of why Black people and other people of color are rarely rewarded and regarded in Hollywood.

Ariel Leconte

Ariel Leconte

Ariel is the Associate Editor of Jawbreaker and creator of Revolutionary In Pink Pumps blog. She is equally obsessed with social justice, lipstick, culture, and red wine.