Nina Simone’s Daughter Defends Zoe Saldana; ‘She’s Brought Her Best’

Zoe Saldaña

Zoe Saldana has been criticised for her lack of singing experience and for her lack of resemblance to the iconic Nina Simone. However, Lisa Simone Kelly has defended the actress, saying she doesn’t deserve the backlash. Simone Kelly is the singer and civil rights activist’s only child.

The actress was in the news when her tweet got her a stinging reply from Simone’s estate’s Twitter account. Rolling Stone explains that Saldana tweeted a quote by Simone upon the release of the film’s trailer. Simone’s estate (@NinaSimoneMusic) tweeted back. “Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.” After some time, the account fired another one saying, “Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing. It shall pass, but for now … ”

It has been revealed that Simone Kelly is not aware that @NinaSimoneMusic is representing her mother’s estate. According to Time, the family had asked friend Aaron Overfield to manage the official website and Facebook page some years back. Overfield has not commented on the Twitter controversy so far. The details of the owner of @NinaSimoneMusic is still unknown.

In a recent twist, Simone Kelly seems to be defensive of Saldana. In an interview to Time, she said the actress does not deserve the backlash. “It’s unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture,” said Simone Kelly. “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,” she added.

It should be noted that about four years back, Simone Kelly had vocally disapproved of the film. She did this after Saldana’s casting was announced. She said that while she respected Saldana, she was disappointed by the choice to cast her in the role, explains SBS. “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark,” Kelly had told the Times. “Appearance-wise, this is not the best choice,” she added.

To Top