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Nina Simone “Biopic” Controversy

This is a strange one. A “biopic” done by RLJE, whose chairman (and BET founder) is Robert L. Johnson somehow cast a HIspanic woman to play the lead role as iconic singer Nina Simone. Not that Zoe Saldana is a bad, or unqualified actress – but the role seems to be a major, major stretch.

Starting with Zoe, vs two shots of Nina –

Now…Apparently with the help of makeup and prosthetics, Zoe looks like this in the movie…

Not seeing any resemblance at all here folks…

Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana to be released in December

The long-anticipated Nina Simone biopic, starring Zoe Saldana as the iconic singer-songwriter and civil rights activist, is finally coming to theaters.

RLJ Entertainment announced that it has acquired North American rights to Nina, and the film will be released this December.

“I had the special privilege early in my career of working with Ms. Simone while coordinating a performance for former D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy and knowing first-hand of her major contribution to the soul and emotion of the Civil Rights Movement,” RLJE chairman and BET founder Robert L. Johnson said in a statement. “I look forward as I am sure many others will, to her story and legacy being made available by RLJ Entertainment to consumers on various media platforms in the coming months.”

Written and directed by newcomer Cynthia Mort, Nina follows the rise of the legendary American vocalist, a 15-time Grammy nominee known for iconic standards like “My Baby Just Cares For Me,” “Feeling Good,” and “To Be Young Gifted and Black.” Her struggles to balance her career and her activism left her living alone in France, feeling isolated from her own country. It was there that she met Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), who became her assistant.

Nina’s release has been delayed for several years, with casting changes, public controversy, and even a lawsuit. Mary J. Blige was originally attached to star as Simone back in 2010, but she dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. She was replaced by Saldana, but some criticized the new casting, saying that Saldana, who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, was too petite and light-skinned to play Simone. The film’s release was delayed further when Mort herself filed a lawsuit against the production company last year.

Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, has also criticizedNina, choosing instead to work on this year’s Netflix documentary about her mother, What Happened, Miss Simone? 

Quite frankly, other than in vocal talent – I am not even feeling it on Mary J. Blige playing NIna…But at least Blige’s sultry voice puts her one step ahead of Zoe, who is not a singer.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2015 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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White Hobbits Only!

No Frodo…There are NO black Hobbits allowed!

The previous movies in this series were pretty anemic looking…

The Hobbit’: Casting agent dismissed after seeking extras with ‘light skin tones’

A casting agent working on director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’sThe Hobbit was fired from the production after placing ads in a regional New Zealand newspaper seeking extras with “light skin tones,” according to Agence France-Presse. The casting agent was also reported to have told a prospective background extra, a woman of Pakistani heritage named Naz Humphreys, that she wasn’t suitable to play a Hobbit because of her skin color. According to The Waikato Times, video footage shows the casting agent telling people at an audition, “We are looking for light-skinned people. I’m not trying to be … whatever. It’s just the brief. You’ve got to look like a Hobbit.” A spokesman for Jackson’s production company told Agence France-Presse that the casting director, who was contracted by the film, was never directed to make any restrictions based on skin color. “No such instructions were given,” the spokesman said. “The crew member in question took it upon themselves to do that and it’s not something we instructed or condoned,” adding, “It’s something we take very seriously.”

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2010 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Another White Cleopatra?

Angelina Jolie has been cast as Cleopatra in the upcoming movie. Now, don’t get me wrong, Angelina is gorgeous – and on my very short list of actors/actresses who might be interesting to sit down and have a conversation with…

But Dayam! How about a little “color”!

Yeah…Yeah… I know Cleopatra’s dad was Macedonian Greek, and she definitely wasn’t African looking…

But I think she probably would look a bit more like a Beyonce or Halle Berry than Angelina.

Probably the Best Known Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor Who Acted Opposite Richard Burton

White Actress Cast as African Queen—Again

Why is Angelina Jolie, a white woman,playing Cleopatra, an African queen? “Just when we thought there weren’t enough leading roles for black women in Hollywood , they create one and give it to a white woman,” writes Shirea L. Carroll for Essence. “I don’t care how full Angelina Jolie’s lips are, how many African children she adopts, or how bronzed her skin will become for the film, I firmly believe this role should have gone to a black woman.”

Cecile B. Demilles's Cleopatra, Claudette Colbert

Carroll points out that three white actresses have already played Cleopatra and notes that this is far from the first time Hollywood has cast white women in similarly inappropriate roles. “While historically there is no concrete confirmation that Cleopatra was of a darker complexion, there is more evidence than not that she was black, and not entirely of Macedonian Greek ancestry, as Shakespeare, leagues of painters, and now Hollywood would have us believe. Jolie—not so perfect.”

The Real Cleopatra done by computer modelling and reconstruction with all of the available evidence.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2010 in Nawwwwww!

 

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