Zoe Saldana: "I Know What Nina Simone Means to Me"

The actress responds to criticism of playing the iconic singer.

Posted: 02/28/2013 09:00 AM EST
Zoe Saldana

There has been a storm of criticism from fans of Nina Simone ever since it was announced that Zoe Saldana will play her in a biopic, and now, for the first time, the Avatar actress is responding to her haters. 

Speaking to HipHollywood at a pre-Oscar bash on Sunday, Saldana addresses the backlash from critics who feel she is not the best fit to play the jazz singer because she doesn't sing, and because she looks much different than the "I Put a Spell on You" songstress.

"I guess what kept me from being hurt by the negative comments was that I’m doing it for my sisters and my brothers, and I don’t care who tells me I’m not this or I’m not that," says the Dominican beauty. "I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me."

Saldana says she is proud to be a Black and Latina woman and has no regrets about taking the role. "I did it all out of love for my people and my pride of being a Black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman and that’s my truth."

Mary J. Blige was originally tapped to play iconic singer before she was replaced by Saldana. The film, simply titled Nina, also stars Mike Epps as Richard Pryor

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(Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images for NCLR)

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