Controversy hits Hollywood as Zoe Saldana is dubbed 'not dark-skinned enough' to play Nina Simone
14:15 GMT, 15 September 2012
She’s one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars, but apparently not everyone is a fan of Avatar actress Zoe Saldana.
Since it emerged that the Dominican-Puerto Rican actress was to play jazz legend Nina Simone in eagerly anticipated biopic, Nina, they has been backlash about the colour of her skin.
Not dark enough Hollywood producers have faced criticism for casting Zoe
An article by The New York Times states that there has been a concerted attempt by certain members of the online community to have Zoe removed from the role, as they don’t believe her to be dark-skinned enough for the part.
Tiffani Jones, who runs Coffee Rhetoric, raised the issue on her blog:
‘Hollywood and the media have a tendency to whitewash and lightwash a lot of stories, particularly when black actresses are concerned.
‘When is it going to be OK to not be the delicate looking ideal of what the media considers blackness to be’
Hot property: Zoe Saldana poses on the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards at the beginning of the month
The blog links to an online petition run by Change.org , which has nearly 3000 supporters, calling for director Cynthia Mott to dismiss Zoe from the film and hire an actress whose skin tone is closer to Nina’s.
There has also been disapproval from those who were closest to the late, iconic singer.
Jazz legend: Nina Simone at the Portman Hotel in London in 1979
Nina’s daughter Simone Kelly has taken umbrage with the decision to cast Zoe, and has taken to her Facebook page to voice her concerns:
‘Appearance-wise this is not the best choice,’ she wrote.
Although Simone went on to say that she had no problem with the star’s acting ability, she admitted that she would like to see a darker-skinned actress such as Viola Davis or Kimberly Elise take the part and suggested that her mother would have wanted Whoopi Goldberg to play her.
Zoe, who is hot property in Hollywood at the moment, has seen her profile rise after starring in a string of blockbusters and dating the likes of Bradley Cooper. She is rumoured to be starring in the forthcoming Avatar sequel.
Hollywood romance: Zoe and former boyfriend Bradley Cooper star together in new film The Words