Tag Archives: Cynthia Mort

How The Dark- vs. Light-Skin Debate Misses The Point About Black Women And The Media

By Guest Contributor Spectra, cross-posted from Spectra Speaks

Zoe Saldana (l) and Nina Simone. Courtesy: The Hollywood Reporter.

In case you missed it, Hollywood is gearing up to release a biopic of Nina Simone, an African-American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist whose music was highly influential in the fight for equal rights for blacks in the U.S.

I myself was only introduced to Nina Simone via a remake of her song, “Feeling Good.” I remember jamming to it in my dorm room when a friend of mine remarked that it was nowhere near being as good as the original. I promptly searched for the original on YouTube and was blown away by the command of her voice.

Further searches led me to “Strange Fruit“, a song (based on a famous poem written by Abel Meeropol) she performed about lynchings in the South, along with a slew of other noteworthy appearances that punctuated her career path as a Black woman singer-turned-political figure.

A biopic about Nina Simone will undoubtedly strike a chord with the African-American community. But given the recent controversy surrounding the project’s casting choices (i.e. Zoe Saldana, a Dominican actress as the lead), it’s not likely to be perceived as the “right” chord.

But when is it ever?
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