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Zoe Saldana Apologizes For Playing Nina Simone in Biopic

"I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago"

In a new interview, Zoe Saldana says she’s “sorry” for playing Nina Simone in the 2016 biopic, Nina.

The actress opened up about the experience during a Bese interview with Steven Canals, co-creator of FX’s Pose, saying, “Nina had a life and a journey that should be honored to the specific detail.”

Saldana’s comment comes years after she was criticized for playing the legendary singer, ultimately wearing dark makeup, a prosthetic nose, and false teeth for the film.

“I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago — which was a different leverage, but it was leverage nonetheless — I should have tried everything in my power to cast a Black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman,” Saldana told Bese. “I thought back then that I had the permission because I was a Black woman. And I am. But it’s Nina Simone. And Nina had a life and she had a journey that should be honored to the specific detail … She deserved better.”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry because I love her music,” she added. “We’ve been appropriating ourselves with someone like Nina Simone for a very long time. And I just want her story to be told, and I want it to be right because she deserves it.”

Listen to Sandala’s conversation with Canals below.