“It’s unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture,” said Lisa Simone Kelly.
Since the debut of the trailor for Nina, the film's star, Zoe Saldana, has been brutally criticized for her portrayal of Nina Simone.
Even the “ghost” of Nina Simone came for her when Simone’s estate tweeted “Cool story, but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life,” in reply to Saldana’s tweet quoting the late singer.
Twitter Claps Back at Trailer for Nina Simone Biopic
Some are defending Saldana, like Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET and RLJ Entertainment, who praised Saldana for a wonderful portrayal of Simone. Joining her defense is Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone’s only child.
In an interview, she tells Time that the actress doesn’t deserve the backlash she has received for her performance. The criticism, she says, is misdirected.
Nina Simone's Estate Shades Zoe Saldana
“It’s unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture,” she says, “It’s clear she brought her best to this project, but unfortunately she’s being attacked when she’s not responsible for any of the writing or the lies.”
Outrage over the casting and storyline should be steered towards the film’s director, Cynthia Mort, says Simone Kelly, who is also an actress and singer.
Watch: Trailer for Nina Simone Biopic Starring Zoe Saldana
Time claims that Simone Kelly had disavowed the movie for at least a decade and that the family was not consulted during its production.
“The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton which never took place. They never had an amorous relationship. The project has been tainted from the very beginning. Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother’s life and everyone now knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered,” says Simone.