• David Arroyo

    Reaaaaaally struggling with your description of Zoe as “fair skinned.” Honestly, I thought she was black until a few weeks ago. That distraction aside, the article does shed light on how it’s easier for POC to make in hollywood….if they have caucasian-like features. And it’s frustrating that Hollywood, in the 21st century, STILL insists on using black face, instead of hiring POC who genuinely look the part.

  • 1) Dominican IS Latina. Saldana is Dominican and Puerto Rican, both of which make her Latina.

    2) She is also a black Latina, as are many other women. She’s not “fair skinned” any more than Halle Barry or Alicia Keys are fair-skinned. There are white Latinas. There are black Latinas. There are Latinas of Asian decent.

    She’s lighter than Nina Simone was, true, and I agree that they should’ve cast someone who looked more like Simone for very specific reasons, but there’s no reason to pounce on Saldana by talking about how “not black enough” she is to make your point. It’s not as clear-cut as all that.

    • ThisIsMyName

      she looks as similar to Nina Simone as Cuba Gooding Jr looks to OJ Simpson or Leo to J. Edgar.
      … or, you know, Daniel Day Lewis before they American-faced him with all that makeup/prosthesis.

      • lovelyivy

        … yes but colorism is a real thing, that had a vital impact on Nina Simone’s life and her art. You can’t accurately portray what her life was like unless you feature someone who is dark, and whose features aren’t considered conventionally attractive. If those things didn’t matter, then they wouldn’t have bothered to change her looks with the terrible makeup. The fact that they did so instead of just hiring an actress who didn’t have to be altered in that way, when there are so many talented dark-skinned women who could have played this role, is a travesty.

        This was a really bad choice, but one Nina Simone herself probably would have been entirely unsurprised by.Society just loves to ignore dark skinned black women, even when it makes no sense to do so.

    • lovelyivy

      It’s less about her not being considered black by the public, and more about her not considering herself to be black at all, at least not before she took the part. I don’t participate in the who is black, who is not game, but when someone tells me they are not, I believe them.

      • missDD86

        Zoe has never been in denial of her blackness. Where have you read or heard her say she wasn’t black? I’d like to see that. Because saying “It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it; I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am” doesn’t sound like someone in denial of their blackness. She has often spoken of her pride in her ethnicity.

        • lovelyivy

          Before she was hired to play dark-skinned, broad-nosed, thick-lipped, curvy Nina Simone, here’s what Zoe Saldana had to say:

          “I don’t like to break and divide myself into all
          these small little categories like, ‘I’m an American, a woman, a Latina,
          a black Latina.’ No. I am Zoe.”

          She’s not black. She’s not black latina. She’s just Zoe. And Tiger Woods isn’t black or Asian, he’s Cablinasian. That is fine by me, because it’s not my place to assign anyone an identity.

          But Nina Simone? She was the first one to tell you she was black.

    • missDD86

      Still doesn’t make her donning blackface ok. Blackface isn’t ok no matter who does it. Period.

  • ThisIsMyName

    this is touchy… a lot of actors/roles require a large amount of prosthetic and makeup work. Zoe also put on a shitload of green makeup to play an alien in Guardians of the Galaxy. (please do not read some parallel there, please). Leonardo DiCaprio looked nothing like Howard Hughes and underwent many more than 7 layers of makeup to look like an aged J. Edgar Hoover. This isn’t anything new or out of the norm… until the makeup is used to create a black characters (I get the obvious implications of race and, obviously, the historical use of blackface). Is the issue that she is not “black” or not “african american” (was her dad Afro-Dominican or Indio)?

    I struggle seeing casting Zoe Saldana (who identifies as black) as “whitewashing”.
    I also see the issue with using any makeup that resurrects images of blackface… you know, unless Spike Lee is doing it in a satirical form.

  • Shar

    As an actor myself, I have many times used make-up and dyed my hair to resemble whatever character I was playing, as do the black actors I’ve worked with. Nicole Kidman had a prosthetic nose in “The Hours” to play Virginia Wolf, Charlize Therone wore make-up in “Monster”, Forest Whitaker gained weight to play Idi Amin. Zoe Saldana wearing make-up and a prosthetic is no different. She is a black woman playing a black woman – an actress playing a role.

    My only real concern is – can she sing?

    • lovelyivy

      I’m sorry but it is entirely different. Nina Simone faced rejection from the white and black community throughout her entire life because she was too dark-skinned to be considered beautiful. Her nose was too wide, and her lips too thick to be considered acceptable. We STILL live in a society where dark women face these struggles, and aren’t considered beautiful. Hiring someone conventionally attractive and using shitty (SUPER SHITTY, poorly lit and unconvincing in every way) makeup and prosthetics instead of actually giving the opportunity to a dark-skinned actress faving the same struggles that Simone did is a terrible decision, and one black audiences (one of the primary audiences for this film fo obvious reasons) aren’t going to support.

    • Victor Stone

      Zoe Saldana is not black but mixed. Why is a mixed person always considered as black?

  • Garry Boldwater

    They should have cast Leslie Jones, from the Ghostbusters reboot.

  • Kevin Gerald Walker

    There’s a reason Zoe Saldana was cast as Uhura in the Star Trek franchise. “It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it; I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am.” HER words. As a black person I find this kind of offensive. Basically saying I’m not black enough to play a black person. Who is black or light enough to play Michael Jackson in the near future. This argument of looking like someone is one thing based solely on looks versus ethnicity. If I am black but born in Russia or Japan and call myself am I not black still?

    • DD7

      if it would have been any african american actress, the wouldn’t be an issue. But because it was a latina, it created this whole controversy.

      • Kevin Gerald Walker

        That’s the whole thing too. It’s like arguing should Idris Elba play an African American role since he’s from the UK. Or should David Oyelowo have played MLK,Jr. in Selma since he’s also not African American. Being black isn’t only African American. It seems like some people out there look for fault wherever they can to stir things up. It’s a shame. There is enough racial injustices by all and against all that there is no need to exacerbate it.

      • 7thangel

        that’s bullshit.

        • DD7

          yeah, I know it is. Unfortunate that is the society we live on.

  • As a fan of Zoe Saldana I felt this wasn’t the role for her. But not cause she not black, cause she is. I’m half Latino and Scottish. Still bleeding Latino.

    • Kite

      Like “half Scottish” is the same as “half Black” in terms of the racial issues here. “Whiteface” is not a thing.

    • missDD86

      No such thing has ‘half Latino’ since Latino itself isn’t a race. So do you mean you are a white Latino? Because that would make more sense. Being white and being Latino are not mutually exclusive, just like being black and being Latino aren’t.

    • lovelyivy

      37-year old Zoe Saldana playing 60 year-old (at the time) Nina Simone. Remember in the trailer, where David Oyelowo (a producer of this mess for his sins) says “my Mother used to play your music”? Just imagine how that works in-universe.

      This casting (and the entire production) is absurd on multiple levels, without ever referencing her looks. But yeah, her looks.

  • Garry Boldwater

    Oddly enough, I think Nina Simone was prettier than Saldana. Much more character to her face, for one thing. I lot of dames with the eerily perfect model look give me that “Uncanny Valley” feeling. Their appearance itself comes off as an abstraction.

  • IsItOverYet

    This is not blackface. Blackface is a specific culture, not just a random word for anyone darkening their skin to be “black” or “blacker.”

    Blackface is a culture of parodying black people. It is a form of racist comedy. A black woman darkening her skin to more accurately portray a dark-skinned black woman IS NOT BLACKFACE.

    Black people make themselves look ignorant of their history when they constantly misapply the term. White people makes themselves look like sensationalists. Trying to connect Zoe Saldana to a WHITE form racism, does not make you look sympathetic to racism’s victims.

    White people created blackface. White people wore blackface. It was done to make jokes at the expense of black people. It was a form of caricature intended as comedy.

    Putting on dark makeup for a REALISTIC and dramatic portrayal of a black woman IS NOT BLACKFACE.

    If you care enough to be offended, then care enough to do some freakin’ research. Go actually look up what blackface really looks like. Don’t just jump on a viral trend. Care enough to learn.

    With that said, they should have hired a darker skinned actress with a more accurate likeness. They should have respected Nina’s message and struggle even if it mean waiting years for Hollywood to approve. But truthfully, they should have just gotten their butts on the street and looked for the right actress. They should trust that making a great movie will make an actress a star.

    The issue is diversity. There are only so few A-listers who could get a project like this greenlit. Most of the names other people brought up are just not enough of a name to get Hollywood to push a project like this through. This movie was also made years ago when the stable of black actresses was even smaller than what it was now. Studio execs get especially picky when it comes to a black name for a black movie. If Will Smith can’t do it, then good luck. Jamie Foxx struggled to get Ray made.

    White people need to stop acknowledging the term ‘blackface’ to make themselves seem more open minded when they accuse people of it. And black people need to check white people for trying to sensationalize this issue around a black actress when white people don’t care about the REAL BLACKFACE happening every Halloween.

    In the wake of OscarsSoWhite, the media is overcompensating. Throwing Zoe Saldana under the bus to appear like you are being hard on racism is B.S. Crack down on the WHITE establishment for not giving more black actresses a chance to gain the kind of exposure where they could be considered for such a role.

    This is more proof that diversity is just a trend. So much reacting, not enough thinking.

  • SCP3

    Zoe Soldana is “whitewashing”?

    I thought megalodons were extinct, so congratulations on finding one. And managing to jump it.