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India.Arie Talks Ugly Nina Simone Biopic Starring Zoe Saldana


Photo by Noam Galai/Getty ImagesThere’s many people who disapprove of Zoe Saldana‘s portrayal of the late Nina Simone in an upcoming, unauthorized biopic. And after the trailer surfaced last week, it’s clear that India.Arie is not here for it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer believes the film “propagates institutional racism,” seemingly referring to Zoe wearing a prosthetic nose and darkening her skin color with body makeup.

“In the context of the politics of race in America and the politics of race in the entertainment industry in America, to make a movie about a person like that and cast an actress that has to wear blackface and a prosthetic nose is tone-deaf,” she says. “To propagate that institutionalized racism that is historical in Hollywood in a movie about her is ironic in the worst possible way.”

Although the Latina actress has identified as being part black, India doesn’t believe she should have been cast. “It’s messy to put it that way. I think the best way to say it is that they casted her against type and went too far to make her fit,” India says.

The singer adds that she’s disappointed the film was even made. “It made me sad. The way she looked in the movie was ugly,” she says. “Whether or not Nina Simone was beautiful in your eyes, I thought she was beautiful. But in this movie, she just looked weird.”

Back in 2012, India voiced her concern in an open letter criticizing the film for its “parody” of Simone’s story.

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