Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone’s daughter, is “not upset” with the casting of Zoë Saldana in the biopic Nina, even though she opposes the film itself.
“It’s unfortunate that Zoë Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture,” she told Time. “It’s clear she brought her best to this project but unfortunately she’s being attached when she’s not responsible for any of the writing or the lies.”
Saldana’s role in the film has stirred controversy because of the lightness of her skin. Simone was known for her dark skin and her desire to embrace the way she looked and to celebrate it, and so casting someone of Saldana’s hue raised eyebrows. What’s more, during filming, Saldana had to wear a prosthetic nose and don what appears to be darkened makeup in order to look the part, prompting many to ask why a darker-skinned woman wasn’t just cast in the first place.
But while Kelly did not seem to agree with the criticism of Saldana, she laid into the film, saying that the “project has been tainted from the very beginning.”
“The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton [Henderson] that never took place. They never had an amorous relationship,” she said, adding that Henderson was gay. “Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother’s life and everyone knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered.”