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Nina Simone Estate Tells Zoe Saldana To 'Take Nina's Name Out Your Mouth'

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/03/2016 Matthew Jacobs
ATHENA IMAGE © Phil Mccarten/Invision/AP ATHENA IMAGE

Nina Simone's estate has again spoken out against the forthcoming biopic about the late jazz singer, this time responding to the trailer that premiered on Wednesday. 

The estate's Twitter account responded pointedly to a tweet from Zoe Saldana, who was already the subject of controversy for having apparently darkened her skin tone in order to portray Simone in "Nina."

Critiques of Saldana's casting escalated when the movie's poster was unveiled on Tuesday. Accusations of colorism -- bias against dark skin tones -- circulated throughout the Internet, mirroring sentiments expressed when Saldana replaced Mary J. Blige in the role after the shoot was delayed in 2012. (Saldana is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent.)

And this wasn't the first time Simone's estate has spoken out against "Nina." "The addition of Zoe Saldana to the casting -- for me -- was only a further example of how much this project really just veered away from what the truth was," Simone's daughter told The Huffington Post last year when the documentary "What Happened, Miss Simone?" opened. She also said in a blog post that the estate was "never asked permission nor invited to participate" in the movie.

Saldana has not responded to the latest controversies, other than to feature the poster on her Instagram account with "..." as the caption. She did, however, tell InStyle last year that she understood the source of the criticism. 

“I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” Saldana said. “An artist is colorless, genderless … It’s more complex than just, ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic black woman.’ The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it.”

"Nina," the directorial debut of "The Brave One" and "Roseanne" scribe Cynthia Mort, opens April 22 in theaters and on VOD. 

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