Zoe Saldana has hit back at her critics, including the estate of Nina Simone, who slammed her casting and portrayal of the late soul singer in 2016 biopic, Nina—a role that was five years in the making.
Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy star Saldana, 38, controversially wore a prosthetic nose and dark makeup to the play the troubled musical icon, whose hits include ‘Feelin’ Good’.
"I have no problem admitting my errors. Just have respect for me," former ballerina Saldana told Allure magazine, saying she had her "strong sense of self" to thank for her boldest career role. "If I am just like wallpaper, there's no need for me to be here,” continued the mother of twins Cy and Bowie, 17 months. “It's kind of like that Nina Simone song—you've got to learn to leave the table when love isn't being served."
Opposition to Saldana’s Simone came to a very public head when a tweet from the account of Simone’s estate was send to Saldana, saying, "Cool story but please take Nina's name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life."
But the actress, who also starred as Uhura in the JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, isn’t backing down from taking on the role of Simone: "The script probably would still be lying around, going from office to office, agency to agency, and nobody would have done it. Female stories aren't relevant enough, especially a black female story."
Added Saldana, "There's no one way to be black. 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. Don't you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain."
Saldana, who is married to artist Marco Saldana— he changed his surname to hers when they married in 2013—is also focused on her sons and regularly shares photos of her growing children with her fans, although she never shows their faces.