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Some People Don't Think Zoe Saldana Should Be Playing Nina Simone

by Maya Chung /

The trailer for the long-rumored Nina Simone biopic "Nina" was released Wednesday and along with it came some of the same criticism that first surfaced when the public found out that actress Zoe Saldana would be playing the renowned jazz musician and vocalist.

Saldana was first cast in the film, which focuses on Simone's relationship with assistant Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), in 2012. Photos were leaked of her on set soon after and immediately people began to voice their disapproval of the choice - the main reason being that Saldana looks nothing like Simone.

Critics of the decision even started a petition asking for the film's casting directors, Jimmy Iovine & Cynthia Mort,to reconsider. The film is set to be released in theaters on April 22.

Many people called Saldana's portrayal of Simone the equivalent of black face and have speculated about whether she wore a prosthetic nose and whether her skin was darkened for the role.

The studio told NBC News that the key art (poster) for the film was not altered in any way and that the studio used a still image from the film.

Simone's daughter, Simone Kelly, also spoke to the NY Times back when the choice was made saying, “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this (Saldana) is not the best choice." Kelly said she would have rather seen someone like Viola Davis play her mom.

Saldana, however, made a statement in 2013 saying it doesn't matter what people have to say. She told Allure, "It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it, I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am."

Now that the trailer and film poster have been released, the same concerns are popping back up. Twitter users continue to express their disapproval and the hashtag "NinaSimone" has been trending with over 37,000 tweets since the release.

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