After all the controversy surrounding Zoe Saldana’s portrayal of Nina Simone in the new biopic about the singer, Buzzfeed decided to go straight to the source to see what black women thought about the debacle.
After watching the “Nina” trailer — some of them for the first time — all the participants had one very strong emotion in common: anger.
Most of this anger came from the fact that Saldana was purposefully painted darker to better match Simone’s skin tone, which in theory sounds like a sensible idea, given that the singer’s complexion informed a lot of her art. One of the video’s subjects even comments, “She went through h*** and back for being a darker skinned black woman.”
However, the “black face” had the exact opposite effect, insulting viewers more than the casting of Zoe Saldana herself.
“What does it say about my place in the world, as a black female,” one of the women asks, “If the roles that are made for me, the stories you want to tell are about me, and I can’t even play them?”
Other suggest that Simone’s family should have been contacted or a darker actress should have been cast. One even jokingly suggests running these kinds of ideas past a panel of black Twitter users beforehand.