Back in March I wrote this post about your casting in Nina Simone’s biopic. I don’t think you saw it because in your latest interview with Allure in response to the backlash you faced, you’re doubling down and claiming “We fucking won.” You even go as far as to say “For so many years, nobody knew who the fuck she [Nina Simone] was.”
Now, Miss Saldana, this is the reach of a double amputee you’re making here. Words mean things and what we read from what you’ve said is that you feel that you somehow made Nina the entire Simone relevant again. I personally have never doubted your talent. I know you to be a powerful, competent actress, but you’re missing the entire point here. Yes, you got Miss Simone trending again, but for all the wrong reasons. You’re right when you say "There's no one way to be black," We are all black in this together, but for you to ignore the fact that Nina Simone’s fight as an artist was underpinned and motivated by her blackness, her dark skin, wide nose and her thick lips. In wearing dark make-up and applying a prosthetic nose you perform an act of erasure, against dark skinned women like Simone, so awe-inspiring it’s almost cruel.
The fact that you’ve had to wear dark make up and wear a prosthetic nose is proof that you were ill-equipped for the task at hand. You fail to understand that black women are not a monolith- our experiences are so varied. So while I would never, ever strip you of your blackness it is important that you see that our outrage was not an attack on you personally but that it is a response to your actions. Your decision to play Nina Simone despite not being as dark as she was is so selfish you denied dark skinned black women a chance to see ourselves represented in Hollywood.
"The script probably would still be lying around, going from office to office, agency to agency, and nobody would have done it," OK sis, but why not use your privilege to uplift an actress woman who looked more like Simone? Why mold black womanhood to fit your narrative? There were countless articles, both scathing and balanced which articulated clearly what the issue was here- the experience of a dark skinned black woman and that of a light skinned black woman while similar are different- but you chose to ignore that. You declaring “We fucking won” is as woeful as George W Bush standing on the USS Abraham Lincoln declaring “Mission Accomplished.”
I want you to win. I want your career to be long and prosperous, but in this, this Nina saga, you’ve lost. You chose to ignore what we as your dark skinned sisters in blackness are saying to you. You chose to press upon your proximity to whiteness, wave your privilege in our faces reminding us that the only way to get a story about a dark skinned black woman made in Hollywood is to have a light skinned black woman wear dark skinned make up. Your feelings are valid and so are ours! But as the article in Allure stated you are “ready to move on.” Because it’s that simple for you. When you have fulfilled your desire to play Nina Simone, you can wipe off the make up and take off the nose and move on to your next project with Ben Affleck.
Think sis. This is an unkindness you have done here. Your conviction has rendered you shortsighted and somehow you have unintentionally taken on the voice of the oppressor- reminding us that as dark skinned black women our opinions don’t matter, cos you’re gonna do what you want anyway. Herein the irony lies in your choice in this instance goes against what Miss Simone stood for.
Click the heart so I know you care.
Jump in the comments below.
Follow me on Twitter @DanielleDASH