When is Black Enough?

Often times people tend to judge actors who are chosen to lead roles in biopics. Actors should be judged off their acting capabilities, but in some cases it always relates back to color.  Most of the time people give their input based off physical appearance.

It is significant that in a biopic the actor should nail “the look” of whose story is being told, but attaining sufficient skills for the role is just as important.

Biopics in many cases can cause controversy when supporters feel like the person chosen wasn’t the right choice.Society is not scared to share their perceptions and insights about it either, especially on great ol’ social media.

The importance behind biopics is to display and tell someone’s story whether it is a historical figure, celebrity, musician, public figure or athlete. A biopic is often the untold story, it draws viewers in.

As many spectators it brings in, it brings forth even more “Shaking my heads”, “Social Media Rants” and lots of backlash.

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me yeah

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good

But some aren’t feeling too good about the new Nina Simone Biopic, starring actress Zoe Saldana. In the upcoming film titled Nina, Saldana is receiving major criticism for playing a role of someone who was dark-skinned.

Jazz Musician , Nina Simone
Actress , Zoe Salanda

This criticism sparked back in 2012 when it was announced that Saldana would be playing the role of Nina Simone. Saldana is of Dominican, Puerto Rican and Haitian descent and identifies with the Afro-Latina community.

The eminent jazz and soulful musician Nina Simone took pride in her African roots. People feel that Saldana doesn’t embody who Nina Simone was. They believe Saldana has no ties to jazz music or isn’t black enough to play in this upcoming biopic.

Here are some reactions to the new biopic on social media.


Capture 4



More controversy has stirred up after photos were released of the actor wearing darker makeup and a prosthetic nose in the film. Many think this modification of Saldana’s appearance is in relation of blackface.

Zoe Saldana in biopic titled Nina.


Blackface was a form of exaggerated makeup used by performers to signify a black person.  They were made up of a layer of burnt cork along with coca butter or black grease paint. This scorned the black race and made fun of how they were seen.

An Example of ” BlackFace”

Saldana is simply playing her role, it was crucial that she embodied Nina Simone, who was a darker skin woman. I believe she was not trying to ridicule the black race and some may disagree.

As an actor your duty is to portray a character in a performance and that is what I believe Saldana is doing.

She embraces her black roots and has played a few black roles in the past. People didn’t give her as much criticism at those points so why do it now. Whether she has some Latina descent or is of lighter skin why must any deny her of her ability to play this role because of her color.

Zoe Saldana in movie Guess Who.
Zoe Saldana in movie Drum Line.

Saldana told Allure magazine in 2013 “It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it. I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am.”

By denying her of this role is like telling her she isn’t black enough. This is like saying a lighter skin black person doesn’t equal to the amount of blackness as a dark-skinned person. We are limiting what being black really entails.

If one is going to judge, then it should be based off their ability to play their role.

Saldana is a strong, beautiful, bold Afro-Latina actress that will kill this role. We believe in you.


Nina is set to release in theaters and VOD on April 22.

Watch trailer below.



One Comment Add yours

  1. salinajewell says:

    First, I think the make up went too far and that’s about the only problem I have with it.

    Zoe is Afro-Latina, not white. She’s still a minority, still enduring the everyday struggle of being a WOC. I don’t understand why she has to be fully black to play the role? I do agree that if auditions we’re held then they should have been. But let’s be real, the girl is in the struggle too.

    This is a problem among POC, we divide ourselves as if we’re not already divided enough. Yes, she’s light skin and maybe that’s another problem– her getting the whole because the producers can make her look how they choose. But, Imagine if we worked together to uplift? This divide will effect the box office numbers and further effect “Black” movies. It’s just sad that the bigger picture isn’t being viewed.

    It’s just a bad mix of a lot of things.


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