Zoe Saldana Covers

Zoe Saldana is media blitzing for her upcoming film projects, including “Nina” and “Star Trek.” The Puerto Rican and Dominican actress graced the May covers of Latina and InStyle’s spring hair issue and bared her soul for those willing to listen. Many women of color, particularly black American women, tuned out after she accepted the Nina Simone role, but that isn’t pulling Saldana down from her soapbox. She addressed the “Nina” critics, detailed her hesitation to star in “Star Trek” and discussed her love for Latinas in both issues.

Here are several highlights:

From InStyle:

On Her Hair, Complexion and Latina Heritage:

“In Latino culture, hair carries a lot of history, a lot of weight, and a lot of energy. I always liked my hair. I never wanted to have any other skin but my own, any other hair but my own.”

On Fashion as Healing:

“My mom raised my sisters and I with a strong sense of self. [My mother] always said, ‘Honey, there is nothing that a red lipstick and a pair of red shoes can’t heal, cure, or solve.’ And I absolutely believe that. They can get you out of anything, even the biggest funk of your life.”

From Latina:

On Her Role of Uhura in “Star Trek”

“I was afraid…I was very concerned. I think I was just a little beside myself because after the treat and the gift of booking Avatar and being in the middle of shooting, to be able to then do another great movie with another great filmmaker back to back—I was a little overwhelmed and I thought: ‘Maybe I should just take some time off and focus and just rest?’ But my mom is a Trekkie, and my team was like, ‘Zoe, are you stupid? Don’t let fear immobilize you. This is an amazing opportunity to step into the shoes of an iconic character in an iconic series and it’s in space and you’re a sci-fi buff.’ And I was like, ‘oh my God, who am I kidding? Absolutely. I’ll totally do it.”

On the Nina Simone Backlash

“The reality is that nobody knows the story as to why this collaboration came to be—nobody knows the full story—and at the end of the day all I’m going to say is that every person that is a part of this project came together for no other reason than the unconditional love for Nina Simone’s music, her persona, her life, what she did, what she left for us, what her music still continues to do not only to women, but to Americans, and African Americans, and also people of color, just everything. On all spectrums, Nina Simone’s story is worth telling and with the members that it came to be, like it’s just…you have to give it a chance…Watch it and then make up your mind. I’m happy that we all held together and we went for it. No regrets.”

On Not Needing A Man

“I don’t want to need things. I need water, you know what I’m saying? I need to exercise, I need to eat. To be with a man, should be a want. I don’t need anybody. And the people that I do need are just family, tu entiendes? But a man is something that I want, I want be with a partner, because this partner is going to add or I’m going to add to this partner.”

“Star Trek” opens nationwide May 17.

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  • I don’t care what her background is because that’s really not the issue at hand. Zoe is a beautiful woman but…

    Zoe knows good and damn well she don’t look nothing like Ms. Nina Simone. Period. SMDH. And the only thing she is proving is that she’s as hardheaded and stubborn as old gum on the sidewalk.

    This is continuing to be all around bad press for her because she seems to be indignant on ignoring the obvious: that she was not born to play this role and that this is all around HORRIBLE casting.

    *Kisses Teeth*
    We all have to face the truth of when we need to stick to the rivers and lakes we’re used to. Face the music Zoe. You were a poor choice for this biopic.

    • Nic

      Thank you…I hate how this always dissolves into a conversation about her race. She’s a black woman. As black as any of us. Her slave descendents just happened to be forced to speak Spanish instead of English. Really nothing special to see there but it demonstrates how woefully ignorance Black Americans remain about the slave trade and the history of Black people in the Western hemisphere and the true extent of the African diaspora.

      We are ignorant of what is happening today, of what happened last year, and what happened 50, 100, and 500 years ago, or this would not even be a conversation. When will the ignoranc end/

      However, some of us are well aware that being Latino is not a race and that being Latino doesn’t make her less black than the rest of us.

      But Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone is as silly as Kerry Washington playing Nina Simone.

      Since being very dark skinned is an important part of the story of Nina Simone, it is silly to have a medium brown (which is what I think Zoe is, not light are nearly white as people seem to pretend) woman playing her. So there are loads of black women who would look silly playing this role and I’m tired of all of the derailing or unrelated issues that come up ever time someone tries to have an opinion about it.

      I also think that at this point we know this trainwreck movie is coming out and I guess white people can go see it and will likely love it since they are big time apologists for nonsense like blackface (and since Zoe’s nose is wide, I think the nose prosthetic is frankly just insulting and over the top).

  • justanotheropinion

    Seems to me, if you have to put on ‘black face’ to portray a character, then maybe you weren’t the right choice. I’d LOVE to portray the great Nina Simone (if I could sing or act), but i don’t come anywhere close to even slightly resembling her. Zoe should have taken the higher road and passed on this project – regardless of her admiration for Nina. Sometime you just have to stay in your lane….

  • Robin

    You know who would make a good Nina? That chick from Walking Dead. Beautiful dark skinned woman with full lips. Could have been a good fit.