I started with What Happened, Miss Simone? because it is really her on screen in documentary style for those who don’t know who she is or what she looks like. This, my people, is Nina Simone on video.
Now, we have the portrayal of Nina Simone…
…to which many people are highly upset about, being played by actor Zoe Saldana, who is of Hispanic descent. Here is where it gets deeper. Saldana doesn’t deny her blackness nor does she deny her Hispanic side either. Zoe is proud of being all the multi that she is.
She has always been a woman to play many roles, but this one has ticked people off. I won’t speak for everyone and their critiques because I assume that everyone who is upset has their own particular reasons.
I will only speak for myself. I have seen Zoe as Nina in the trailer above, and I hate the overall look of the makeup. I mean it really repulses me how unnatural it looks. The make up looks utterly ridiculous. Isn’t art supposed to come close to the real deal, if you’re going to do it that way? I mean, dang. It’s bad to me. It really takes on blackface, and that’s not good.
I would have preferred her just looking like Zoe and flipping acting the part sans makeup and give her a fly Afro! She would have been good to go! A great example…Angela Bassett as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It?. No bad makeup. Just hair, body and boom. The MAKEUP metamorphosis wasn’t needed at all. There are more examples…but do I really need to go there?
Casting, also, could have made a world of difference, to at least pick someone that didn’t have to be so made up OR get some freaking better make up artists, (and this is absolutely no shade to beautiful Zoe whom I think, as I stated in the previous paragraph, could have and possibly should have acted without the mask).
However, all that aside if it doesn’t detract from the movie, I know that Zoe will act her butt off. I’ve waited to see this movie after watching the doc on Netflix. Of course, according to Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina’s daughter, via US there are many lies about her mother that she is truly disgusted with, and her disgust doesn’t lie on the fact that Zoe Saldana is playing the role. I agree with her. Zoe will, as I stated earlier, act her butt off and do an amazing job. She always does, even when scripts suck or the makeup looks like damnation.
Again, I won’t hate on Saldana because there isn’t a thing to hate on (even though I thought Jennifer Hudson would have killed it), but I really wish Saldana would have stood up and stated during the facial rubs…”Y’all got to do better because this isn’t even going to fly.”
My thoughts. Go Nina! Go Zoe! May the rest of us watch and go beyond the horrific makeup.