Nina Simone estate slams 'Nina' star Zoe Saldana on Twitter

FILE - In this June 14, 2015 file photo, Zoe Saldana attends the Los Angeles Premiere of "Infinitely Polar Bear" held at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. After many delays, the Nina Simone biopic starring Saldana and David Oyelowo will be simultaneously released in theaters, digital HD and video-on-demand next month. Distributor RLJ Entertainment said Tuesday, March 1, 2016, it will release “Nina” in all formats on April 22. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)
In this June 14, 2015 file photo, Zoe Saldana attends the Los Angeles Premiere of “Infinitely Polar Bear” held at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — If there was any doubt about how Nina Simone’s family feels about the upcoming biopic starring Zoe Saldana, recent social media posts make it clear they are not pleased.
A fresh round of criticism for the film erupted after the trailer and poster for “Nina” were unveiled Wednesday.
Saldana posted a quote from the singer and civil rights activist on Twitter, and Simone’s estate responded with: “Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.”

 Simone’s daughter and others have decried the choice to cast a light-skinned actress as the African-American activist since Saldana took the part in 2012. Her skin was apparently darkened for the role.
At the time, Simone’s daughter, Simone Kelly, said: “Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”

“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark,” Kelly told the New York Times in a 2012 interview.
The Simone estate tweeted Wednesday: “Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing. It shall pass, but for now…”
The singer’s estate cooperated with producers of the Netflix documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” which was nominated for an Oscar this year.
Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of the studio releasing “Nina,” describes Saldana’s performance as “an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute.”
“She gave her heart and soul to the role and displayed her extraordinary talent,” he said in a statement Thursday. “The most important thing is that creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness.”
Representatives for Saldana and the Simone estate did not respond to requests for comment Thursday from The Associated Press.
RLJ Entertainment will release “Nina” in theaters, digital HD and video on demand on April 22.

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