Watch Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo in First Nina Trailer

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The first trailer for the Nina Simone biopic Nina is out. Zoe Saldana plays Nina and David Oyelowo plays her manager Clifton Henderson. The film centers around Simone and Henderson and the two have a great dynamic. Early reports stated the relationship was portrayed as romantic in the film, and Simone’s daughter responded by calling the film “unauthorized” and pointing out that Henderson was a gay man. It’s not clear from the trailer whether this has been amended.

The decision to cast Dominican actress Zoe Saldana, who was given a prosthetic nose and darkened skin for the role, was a controversial one. The trailer, which shows images of the Black Panthers, suggests that they’ll dive into Simone’s activism and her protest work. Nina Simone was very outspoken, and being a woman who did not fit Euro-centric beauty standards was a huge part of her work and career. She was open about expressing alienation and speaking about the importance of representation. Because of this, it just seems like there’s some tension between her message and the casting. Blackness in America is more than just skin color and I adore Zoe Saldana, but we can’t pretend colorism isn’t a thing. It’s not possible to ignore the discontent of Simone’s family.

Nina will be released to theaters and on VOD April 22, 2016. Does the trailer change your thoughts on the casting?

(via Indiewire)

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