One can only imagine how it would feel—that moment you see a movie based on your mother’s life and knowing the whole story is based (from your perspective) on lies!
Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone’s daughter, has slammed the overall production of the new movie Nina as being based on lies, while at the same time defending actress Zoe Saldana’s casting of her mother in the biopic.
The casting of Saldana received a lot of backlash with complaints that the actress didn’t have the right physical appearance to portray Nina, most noticeably, that she wears a prosthetic nose and had her skin darkened with makeup for the film.
The backlash was such that the official Twitter account for Nina Simone’s music posted an extremely harsh tweet in response to Saldana’s tweet quoting Simone. @NinaSimoneMusic tweeted: “@zoesaldana Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.”
In response to the online uproar, Simone Kelly has spoken to Time magazine about the film. Simone Kelly said: “It’s unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture. 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.
“There are many superb actresses of color who could more adequately represent my mother and could bring her to the screen with the proper script, the proper team and a sense of wanting to bring the truth of my mother’s journey to the masses. And Nina, in my opinion, doesn’t do any of that.”
It’s quite clear that Simone Kelly’s main gripe with the movie is the plot. Simone Kelly is adamant that the movie is based on a fictional relationship between her mother and her manager, Clifton Henderson, whom she claims in real life was gay.
Simone Kelly stated that, “The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton which never took place. They never had an amorous relationship.” She went on to say: “The project has been tainted from the very beginning. Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother’s life and everyone now knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered.”
She went on to say that now that the family-authorized documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? which was nominated for an Oscar, has been released she no longer feels angry. “I don’t have to justify, define or educate anybody about my mother anymore. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m free in a way that I have never been before.”
Nina’s release date, which was released on Wednesday, had been delayed for several years with casting changes, public controversy, and even a lawsuit that involved singer Mary J. Blige.
Check out the official trailer for Nina below and judge for yourself.