Zoe Saldana has been playing defense when it comes to questions about her race and ethnicity ever since she signed on to play Nina Simone in the ill-fated biopic Nina. Now, the actress is done staying silent on her haters.
In a new interview with Allure, the Puerto Rican and Dominican actress lashes out at people who question her Blackness. “There’s no one way to be Black,” she says. “I’m Black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am Black. I’m raising Black men [her twin boys with husband Marco Perego]. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”
Those comments are enough to get people talking, but it's what she has to say about Nina Simone that is sure to set Twitter fingers on fire.
Speaking on criticism that she was "too pretty" to play the jazz icon, Saldana says, “I never saw her as unattractive. Nina looks like half my family! But if you think the [prosthetic] nose I wore was unattractive, then maybe you need to ask yourself, What do you consider beautiful? Do you consider a thinner nose beautiful, so the wider you get, the more insulted you become?”
Um, might be missing the point a little on that one, Zoe. Most people's rage wasn't over a thin nose vs. wider nose, but that a Halloween costume-level prosthetic was slapped on a megastar to play a woman whose identity was shaped, at least in some part, by her beautiful, natural features.
Saldana takes credit for getting Nina to "trend" again. “The fact that we’re talking about her, that Nina Simone is trending? We f**king won,” she states. “For so many years, nobody knew who the f**k she was. She is essential to our American history. As a woman first, and only then as everything else.”
Check out Zoe do her "hoochie mama" accent on The Queen Latifah Show, above.
(Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)