If you have been disconnected from the outside world and you haven’t heard the news about late Jazz musician and pianist, Nina Simone, you need to know that her biopic is the topic of discussion. Once word got out that Latino actress Zoe Saldana was cast to play Simone, the twitter battles began. Let’s assume for just this moment that you haven’t had a college level history class, or you aren’t big on history and you don’t see what the fuss is about.
Blackface Montage from Spike Lee’s Bamboozled
Back in the day, around the 19th century, there was a form of theatrical makeup called blackface that white actors used to portray a black character when patronizing the race. These types of theatrical acting occurred before African-Americans were allowed to act on stage. When the actors transformed into blackface, they began to create stereotypes that many Africans-Americans fight today with each other and other races.
Blackface was offensive because it boldly depicted a grotesque perception of an entire race based on their facial features, work ethic, and talent. The self-hate that was projected on the race as a result of blackface is seen today within the African-American community. Hierarchy has been centered on achieving European hair textures, skin complexions, and material possessions.
History has caused Nina, the biopic, to become an ethical concern. Should Saldana be altering her complexion to better convey the legendary spirit of Simone? Is this a modern day version of blackface or will the makeup capture the essence of the late musician? Whatever side you’re on, here are three reasons why Simone is currently taking over your Timeline:
Angelisa Ross is a San Jose State University alumni, entrepreneur and a writer with one goal and one goal only, decrease low self-esteem in women. She is a Journalist for Workingmomin20s.com covering pop culture phenomena and social issues for millennial that enjoy critical thinking. She is a dynamite combination of knowledge acquired from long nights of studying diligently in school, and enjoys all things natural, beautiful, and #vintage. Her mission in life is to use her creative talents to inspire the world.