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Nina Simone's family lash out over 'light-skinned actress' Zoe Saldana playing the singer

Simone’s daughter Simone Kelly has said, “Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”

Image: Associated Press

IF THERE WAS any doubt about how Nina Simone’s family feels about the upcoming biopic starring Zoe Saldana, recent social media posts make it clear they are not pleased.

A fresh round of criticism for the film erupted after the trailer and poster for “Nina” were unveiled.

Saldana posted a quote from the singer and civil rights activist on Twitter, and Simone’s estate responded with: “Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.”

Simone’s daughter and others have decried the choice to cast a light-skinned actress as the African-American activist since Saldana took the part in 2012. Her skin was apparently darkened for the role.

At the time, Simone’s daughter, Simone Kelly, said: “Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.” In a 2012 interview, Kelly told the New York Times:

My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark.

The Simone estate tweeted Wednesday: “Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing. It shall pass, but for now…”

Halloween Ball/Nina Simone Source: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

The singer’s estate cooperated with producers of the Netflix documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” which was nominated for an Oscar this year.

Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of the studio releasing “Nina,” describes Saldana’s performance as “an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute.”

“She gave her heart and soul to the role and displayed her extraordinary talent,” he said in a statement Thursday.

The most important thing is that creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness.

Representatives for Saldana and the Simone estate did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

RLJ Entertainment will release “Nina” in theaters, digital HD and video on demand on April 22.

Read: Barack Obama has been showing off his taste in music>

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Associated Press

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