Los Angeles, June 19 (IANS) Actress Zoe Saldana is lashing back at critics who have slammed her appearance in the biopic “Nina”, saying “there’s no one way to be black”.
The film, which recounts the life of legendary musical polymath Nina Simone, was the subject of intense controversy. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” actress Zoe Saldana essays the role of the songstress, who died in 2003.
Central to the criticism wasn’t how Saldana acts, but how she looks. The casting of Saldana was slammed by Nina Simone’s daughter Simone Kelly, who said “my mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”
Saldana remained quiet about the uproar but responded to critics in an interview to Allure Magazine, reports deadline.com.
She said: “There’s no one way to be black. I’m black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am black. I’m raising black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”
Adding to the controversy, Saldana wore a prosthetic nose and makeup to darken her skin for the film, which only intensified critics, who used it as an example of certain racial and aesthetic biases among Hollywood productions.
The actress added: “I never saw her as unattractive. Nina looks like half my family! But if you think the (prosthetic) nose I wore was unattractive, then maybe you need to ask yourself, ‘What do you consider beautiful? Do you consider a thinner nose beautiful, so the wider you get, the more insulted you become?'”
Saldana insisted that she took the part because she wanted to tell the story.