Have I mentioned I love Nina Simone? Once or twice? Three million times? Well, then you know I was VERY EXCITED to hear that the Nina Simone biopic, which at one point was going to be made with Mary J. Blige and then fell through (which crushed me), is finally going to begin production this October (yay!), with Zoe Saldana in the lead role.
Now, I love Zoe Saldana, too. Star Trek YEP. Colombiana SURE. But the thing is that Zoe Saldana doesn't look like Nina Simone. Like, at all.
And, you know, not everyone has to look exactly like the person they're playing in a biopic. Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn't look a hell of a lot like Truman Capote. But it does strike me that Zoe Saldana doesn't look like Nina Simone in a very particular not-looking-like-her way.
Like, the lighter-skinned, "fairer"-featured, more closely hewing to the racist Beauty Standard kind of way.
That's no fault of Zoe Saldana's; I'm certainly not criticizing her. I am, however, criticizing the casting, entirely typical of Hollywood casting, which endeavors to pretend as though women who look like Nina Simone don't exist in this country, and that they are not beautiful.
And, you know, the fact that Nina Simone didn't look like Zoe Saldana wasn't incidental to her life.