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Nina Simone’s Family: “Zoe Saldana Film Is Raping Her Legacy”

The family of Nina Simone have accused Zoe Saldana and the filmmakers of ‘raping her legacy’.

The family stepped up their criticism of the project which has been embroiled in controversy since Zoe’s casting was announced. The actress drew wide criticism at the time due to her lack of singing experience and the lightness of her skin.

This week (beg29Feb16) the row was reignited when the first trailer debuted online. Zoe posted a Nina quote on social media, causing the singer’s estate to tell Zoe “please take Nina’s name out your mouth” on Twitter.com

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Nina’s brother has now insisted the singer and activist would be outraged at Zoe wearing make-up to darken her skin. He claims “painting up” a light-skinned actress was insulting to Nina and was “raping Nina’s legacy”, according to TMZ.com.

Mary J. Blige was originally due to play the late singer in the biopic back in 2010 but she dropped out and the movie hit a number of production delays and Zoe was finally cast in the role.

Representatives of Nina’s estate continued to criticise the Avatar star on Twitter, writing, “Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing. It shall pass, but for now…”

In a series of replies to one Twitter user, they wrote, “You want to be a plus model? So when they made a movie of YOUR life & put some skinny girl in a ‘fat’ suit… you’d be like hey, that’s cool, that’s not demeaning to big beautiful women at ALL? Lets just erase marginalized identities.”

Zoe was blasted as being just as responsible as the executives behind the biopic, the tweets continued, “So doing a ‘job’ absolves one of personal responsibility? We should be pleasant/civil in the face of disgrace because why?”

The mother of two has not responded to the comments, but has put a poster of the Nina biopic on Instagram.com on Thursday (03Mar16). She defended her casting back in 2013, telling HipHollywood.com, “I did it out of love… Out of love for Nina. Out of love for my people. For who I am. My pride of being a Black woman. A Latina woman. An American woman. That’s my truth.”

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Nina is set for release in cinemas and video on demand on 22 April (16).

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