Nina Simone Estate Starts Twitter Beef With Actress Playing Her

'Please take Nina's name out your mouth'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2016 8:08 PM CST
Nina Simone's Estate Starts Twitter Beef With Actress Who's Playing Her
Zoe Saldana: not exactly a dead ringer for Nina Simone.   (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

The estate of Nina Simone had some extremely harsh words this week for Zoe Saldana, the actress playing the late singer and activist in a new film, RollingStone reports. Saldana tweeted a Simone quote when the trailer for Nina was released Tuesday. The official Nina Simone Twitter account responded a day later: "Cool story but please take Nina's name out your mouth. For the rest of your life." The long-in-development film has been criticized for casting Saldana, who looks little like Simone, then darkening her skin and giving her a fake nose. In 2012, Simone's daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, said the casting was particularly bad because her mother was put down specifically for her nose and skin color.

But Time reports Simone Kelly has softened—at least toward Saldana—recently, saying the actress deserves better than the tweet from the Nina Simone account. “It’s unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously…when she's not responsible for any of the writing or the lies," Simone Kelly says. She says the blame instead should go to director Cynthia Mort. Aside from Saldana's casting, the Simone family takes issue with the entire plot of Nina, which it says is based on a relationship between Simone and her manager that never happened. It's unclear who runs the Nina Simone Twitter account, though it's possibly a family friend put in charge of the Facebook page a few years ago. Meanwhile, Vulture has a list of seven actresses who should play Nina Simone. (More Zoe Saldana stories.)

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