Zoe Saldana Apologizes for Criticism She Received for Wearing Prosthetics and Darkening Her Skin for Role as Nina Simone

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This week, Avatar star Zoe Saldana gave an emotional apology for playing Nina Simone in the 2016 biopic Nina.

The biopic was criticized by Simone’s estate as well as fans after Saldana controversially darkened her skin and wore a prosthetic nose for the role.

In an Instagram interview with Pose creator Steven Canals, Saldana spoke of her regret.

“I should have never played Nina,” Saldana said. “I’m so sorry. I know better today and am never going to do that again. She’s one of our giants and someone else should step up. Someone else should tell her story.”

Previously, in a 2016 interview with Allure, Saldana defended her casting from criticism and denied blackface accusations after she received backlash for the role.

“If Elizabeth Taylor can be Cleopatra, I can be Nina. It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it. I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am,” Saldana said.

In this recent interview, Saldana took full responsibility for her misjudgment and said Simone “deserved better.”

“I thought back then that I had the permission [to play her] because I was a black woman. And I am. But it was Nina Simone,” Saldana said.

“And Nina had a life and she had a journey that should have been, and should be, honored to the most specific detail because she was a specifically detailed individual.”

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Join @zoesaldana and I tomorrow for an Instagram Live chat at 2:30 pm PST on @beseofficial’s page. We’ll be chatting about our individual journeys as Afro-Latinxs in Hollywood, colorism in the Latinx community, and more. You won’t want to miss this conversation. #Bese pic.twitter.com/ezfyx5ktFc