Mixed-race actress blasted after landing great role; critics argue not black enough

In a topsy-turvy world where whites folks like Rachel Dolezal and Sean King are widely accepted as black, a minority actress is under fire for not being black enough for a role.

Actress Zoe Saldana, who identifies as a proud black woman, plays Nina Simone in the new movie “Nina,” is being criticized for reportedly darkening her skin and wearing a prosthetic nose in bringing the legendary jazz singer to life on the big screen.

zoe saldana screen shot

Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, was not approving of the choice made for Saldana to play her mother.

“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark,” she told The New York Times. “Appearance-wise, this is not the best choice.”

The controversy hit a fever pitch on Wednesday after the actress shared the first official poster for the upcoming film on Instagram:

A photo posted by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on

Social media users responded by accusing Saldana, who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, of wearing blackface.

Saldana posted a Nina Simone quote on Twitter on Tuesday, which prompted an account belonging to Simone’s estate to respond harshly: “Cool story but please take Nina’s name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life.”

Among the reactions on social media was a reminder of the claim by many of a lack of diversity in Hollywood.

Here’s a small sampling of responses from Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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