Colorism is real. It's the reason women like Jennifer Lopez and Sofía Vergara represent Hispanic culture in Hollywood. It's the reason darker skin is mostly celebrated by black people. There's a melanin comfort zone or a threshold in Hollywood that is rarely disturbed.
So when the powers that be decided that they would create a biopic for the troubled, yet extremely talented and dark-skinned songstress Nina Simone, we were excited. This meant that Hollywood was confronting that threshold. But not so fast—because they cast Zoe Saldana as the leading lady.
The trailer for Nina, the Simone biopic that shockingly stars a medium-complected Saldana as the late singer, has been released. The film was heavily criticized in production when several photos of a painted-on Saldana were leaked. And it seems that the film will still be getting the side eye from many of us because Saldana is fully painted in blackface, black body—I bet they even painted her toes.
The film also stars David Oyelowo as Clifton Henderson—a friend-turned-manager who didn't need to be painted black, because, well … he is.
It's insulting that they would rather extend the makeup budget to oblivion than cast a woman who actually looks like Simone. It's not as if there's a lack of talented women who could have done the role without being painted.
In fact—here are 11 actresses who could have played the role:
1. Danai Gurira
2. Lupita Nyong'o
3. Lauryn Hill
5. Tika Sumpter
5. Rutina Wesley
6. Viola Davis
8. Erika Alexander
9. Akosua Busia
10. Zainab Jah
11. Adepero Oduye
While it's a beautiful thing that Hollywood chose to share the story of Nina Simone, the powers that be should have thought twice about the cast.