No one is really here for Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone as evident by the backlash Twitter unleashed at the first poster.
— Tropicana. (@TRXVLA) March 2, 2016
This is exasperating. https://t.co/5A6gKdoozB
— buzzed lightyear (@indiKEV) March 2, 2016
That pic alone solidifies the reason not to watch that trailer https://t.co/ESz6eBmgRC
— Vote Deadpool 2020 (@BrandonWhiteInc) March 2, 2016
Well the trailer is now here, and you can take your first look at Zoe Saldana as the empress of jazz.
Without further ado...
Is it as bad as you expected?
READ NEXT: The promo for the Nina Simone biopic...
No, I'm not going to let Nina Simone go out like this. I hope you won't either. On the heels of our community protesting the lack of inclusion at a predominately-white awards show such as the Oscars, is the release of the trailer for the controversial biopic about Nina Simone. Let's be real. Zoe should have taken the hint when she was first announced as the lead for the film. While the rest of us ranted on social media about how inappropriate a casting this was and who would play the part more accurately (nods to India Arie and Viola Davis), Nina Simone's daughter came out and said that the project was unauthorized and that the estate wasn't even consulted or asked to participate in the making of the film.
I could sit here and blame Hollywood for how it constantly and ridiculously practices the erasure of black folks when documenting history via cinema. Yes, Hollywood is a mess and we all know it. We will continue to call that culture out every time we see it. When are we going to start holding actors and actresses accountable for their culpability in Hollywood's legacy of racism? Gods of Egypt has flopped. Great. I highly doubt that Joseph Fiennes will find success trying to play Michael Jackson. Now it's time to show Zoe and anyone else who would step into a space that isn't befitting for them that not only will we boycott Hollywood for trying to shade (or lighten) our history... we will boycott YOU.
Zoe, how can you call yourself a Nina Simone fan and allow yourself to be essentially put n blackface to portray her? Nina once said, "I've never changed. I've never changed my hair. I've never changed my color, I have always been proud of myself, and my fans are proud of me for remaining the way I've always been." To so fundamentally disregard what the artist you're trying to authentically illuminate stood for disrespects her legacy and disregards her voice. So, Zoe, you can take severals seats, catch infinite shade, and know that I will stand up for Nina Simone. I will hear her voice. I won't ask her to change.
Watch Nina's own words on black beauty below:
What do you think about the Nina trailer? Will you go and see the film?
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The biopic that received an immediate and resounding "no" is gearing up for its promo process. Zoe Saldana stars as Nina Simone -- whose recent documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? captured audiences on Netflix -- in a film about the singer's relationship with her manager. A trailer has not been released for the biopic, also starring Golden Globe Award nominee David Oyelowo as Simone's manager, Clifton Henderson.
The film has been in production for a few years now, and continues to be met with backlash, primarily for the casting of Saldana, who has clear disparities of resemblance to the late pianist.
In regards to the controversy, Saldana told BET last summer, “An artist is colorless, genderless… It’s more complex than just ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic Black woman.’ The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it.”
*Looks at the poster for the Nina Simone biopic that stars Zoe Saldana* pic.twitter.com/kE33G2svJB— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 1, 2016
The movie will be released in theaters on April 22.
Will you be seeing Nina when it hits theaters?
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Why We Wear Our Crowns is a series that highlights social justice advocates from the African American community and throughout the African Diaspora. We hope that by showcasing those who dedicated their lives for us to own ours, you’re inspired to wear your crowns proudly.
February 21, 1933- April 21, 2003
Singer, Songwriter, Arranger, Pianist, Activist
There is a text by Maya Angelou that says “The matter of art is inevitably the matter of life. That is to say, art reflects life, influences and creates life.” Masterpieces come in different forms, all of which, offer the influencer the opportunity to express their lived experience in their best medium. Just as a painter has a paintbrush or an orator has their words, Nina Simone’s tool was her music. Simone was a gifted storyteller and talented musician that utilized her medium of musicality to act as a message for the masses. In doing so she enticed her listeners to wake up and take a stance on the prevalent issues happening at the time. She didn't belt out a tune or play a note that didn't serve a purpose and throughout her career, her music acted as a weapon for justice by any means necessary.
Before she was Nina Simone, she was Eunice Kathleen Waymon, born in small-town Tryon, North Carolina in 1933. She took to the piano at the age of three and first began her music career at her local church. As she became more skilled on the keys and developed a repertoire of classical arrangements, she aspired to become a concert pianist. Growing up as a black girl in the harsh Jim Crow South and being subject to discrimination despite her unprecedented talent didn't deter Simone from her musical dreams. After being rejected from a musical program from the Curtis Institute of Music, for what Simone cited as racial discrimination, she moved to New York City and began her studies at the Juilliard School of Music. It was while in New York City that Simone began to venture out of the gospel background she grew up with and into other musical genres such as jazz, pop, and the blues, as she took to singing in nightclubs to make ends meet. In nightclubs she sang covers of popular songs of the day mixed with her arrangements on the keys and became well known for her dynamic and unique sound. Simone's beginnings of being known as the "High Priestess of Soul" began as her intense, sultry voice and powerhouse classical skills on the piano drew in crowds and gave her fans with names as famous as her own.
Simone would go on to sign her first record deal at the age of 24 with Bethlehem Records where she recorded the popular songs, "I Love You Porgy" and "My Baby Just Cares For Me," before leaving the company. It was after signing with Colpix Records in 1959, when Nina began being regarded as the performer we remember today. With a group of like-minded individuals surrounding her including Stokely Carmichael, Lorraine Hansberry, and James Baldwin that were invested and dedicated to speaking out against racial injustice, Simone began to tune her music to a much more political stance. Though Simone previously released songs that payed homage to her blackness, it was following the death of Civil Rights advocate Medgar Evers and the murder of four girls in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, that Simone was triggered to move her career into a new direction. She began to make songs that directly addressed the racial tensions of the time which gives way to why she is so highly regarded for her artistry today. Her legacy is still so palpable because the music she made at the height of the Civil Rights Movement is relevant to the suppressed issues that followed and the ever present Black Lives Matter movement today.
Her controversial song "Mississippi Goddam" (1964) which was banned on most radio stations because of it's defiant lyrics, set Simone apart from other artists as she was unafraid of making music that made listeners uncomfortable. Simone's stance in regards to gaining and protecting the rights of African Americans was anything but, non-violent. Her approach took her to perform her songs in civil rights meetings and also advocate for violent revolutions. Her later songs "Why (The King of Love Is Dead)" written after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, "Four Women," and "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black" acted as lyrical mirrors that reflected the painful but, real issues African Americans faced during some of the most tumultuous eras of American history. Simone was revered as an activist by civil rights leaders of the time because her music articulated resistance in a way that acted as protest. Not only was she loud and brazen in the words she wrote, sang, and performed but, she did it all while being unapologetically talented, black, and a woman in an industry that so easily would congratulate white mediocrity.
Despite her significance and visibility in the music industry and in the CRM, Simone didn't find the commercial success she was seeking and took time to reflect in Barbados in 1970. Little did she know that in an act of protest for the U.S.'s involvement in the Vietnam war, Simone opted out of paying her taxes and it was upon her return to the country from Barbados, that she was informed of a warrant for her arrest. To evade criminal charges, she sought refuge in Barbados and later traveled throughout Liberia and Europe before settling in France in 1992. Between the time she left the United States and found a home in France, Simone toured and performed in clubs throughout Europe and released records through various labels. Her song "My Baby Just Cares For Me" from her 1958 album "Little Girl Blue" found a resurgence in 1987 when it became a Britain Top 10 single after being used in a Chanel No.5 perfume commercial. She even made appearances in the United States where she never faced prosecution for the charges that were once imposed upon her.
However the work and music she produced in the latter part of her career didn't give her the financial or commercial success she desired either. Her personal reputation of being combative and prone to mood swings, which were later revealed to be a result of her mental illness, led her to feel misunderstood and she reflected that in her last works. She published her autobiography, "I Put A Spell On You" in 1992 and released her final album "A Single Woman" in 1993. Her last record reflected a demeanor of the solitude she lived in and pain she felt as an artist that was never truly understood. A decade after releasing her last album, Simone passed away in her sleep, at the age of 70 in her home in Carry-le-Rout, France.
Spanning a career with nearly over 40 albums and 40 years, Nina Simone is known as an icon of American music and one of the best griots to ever take the mic. Her music and character defied standards in a way that was just as powerful and prophetic of giving a speech or marching across cities. Her artistry led her to become an inspiration for many singers, writers, poets, and creative artists who would follow in her footsteps and as it relates to the current wave of #BlackGirlMagic, Simone may very well be the prototype. She was mystifying in the way she was able to entrance and command the attention of an entire audience and confidently tell her truth as she saw fit. Nina Simone set a standard of what it means to be not only young, gifted and black, but unapologetic and unrelenting in the spirit of all it encompasses to carry the blessing and burden of blackness and she is the reason why we wear our crowns.
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Nina Simone's significance is close to never fading, and another documentary highlighting her everlasting impact is coming to theaters next month. The film's release will be at NYC's Miles Gallery and LA's Sundance Sunset on October 16th. The film will open nationwide on October 23rd. The Amazing Nina Simone, directed by Jeff Lieberman, will be an in-depth analysis of the late singer's life, music and legacy, featuring over 50 interviews with her family, companions and fellow musicians.
Here is a full list of screenings and special events.
Watch the trailer below.
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On July 10, RCA Recordings will release a Nina Simone tribute album called Nina Revisited: A Tribute To Nina Simone. Lauryn Hill released a statement about the track to RollingStone: “Because I fed on this music, both hers and lovers like her, like my basic food, I believed I always had a right to have a voice. Her example is clearly a form of sustenance to a generation needing to find theirs. What a gift.” Listen to the track dropped on sound cloud below.
Covers by other celebrities will be as follows:
Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone Track List:
1. Lisa Simone - "Nobody's Fault but Mine (Intro)"
2. Ms. Lauryn Hill - "Feeling Good"
3. Ms. Lauryn Hill - "I've Got Life" - Ms. Lauryn Hill
4. Ms. Lauryn Hill - "Ne Me Quitte Pas" - Ms. Lauryn Hill
5. Jazmine Sullivan "Baltimore"
6. Grace - "Love Me or Leave Me"
7. Usher - "My Baby Just Cares For Me"
8. Mary J. Blige - "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
9. Gregory Porter - "Sinnerman"
10. Common & Lalah Hathaway - "YG&B"
11. Alice Smith - "I Put A Spell On You"
12. Lisa Simone - "I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl"
13. Ms. Lauryn Hill - "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair"
14. Ms. Lauryn Hill - "Wild Is The Wind"
15. Ms. Lauryn Hill - "African Mailman"
16. Nina Simone - "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free"
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/hear-lauryn-hills-sultry-nina-simone-cover-feeling-good-20150617#ixzz3dRTogO3F
Watch the trailer below.
The Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? promises to be as dynamic and poignant as Nina Simone herself. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year and is from Academy Award nominated director Liz Garbus. Her impact on American culture is undeniable and we can't wait for Netflix to release the documentary in June. Check out the trailer below.
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