Zoe Saldana on race and criticism: ‘I am Black. I’m raising Black men.”

After being criticized for playing Nina Simone, Zoe Saldana decided to express her own views on the matter. 

“There’s no one way to be black,” Saldana said. “I’m black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am black. I’m raising black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”

Saldana became the target of criticisms concerning Saldana being chosen, the use of darker makeup and a prosthetic nose and more. She defended her views and defended Nina Simone being called unattractive. Black people are always judged according to the white beauty standards. Moreover, the appearance doesn’t matter when we face such a talent.

“The script probably would still be lying around, going from office to office, agency to agency, and nobody would have done it. Female stories aren’t relevant enough, especially a black female story,” she said. “I made a choice. Do I continue passing on the script and hope that the ‘right’ black person will do it, or do I say, ‘You know what? Whatever consequences this may bring about, my casting is nothing in comparison to the fact that this story must be told.‘”

Black people should unite against discrimination, not fight each other.



Six of Crows: Nina Zenik

In these rooms, she played the part her clients wanted to see—the powerful Grisha, serene in her knowledge. But sitting there with her brow furrowed and her feet tucked under her, she looked like what she truly was: a girl of seventeen, raised in the sheltered luxury of the Little Palace, far from home and barely getting by every day.