After years of delays and accusations of whitewashing, Zoe Saldana’s film about musical legend Nina Simone is finally heading to theaters.

According to the film’s official synopsis, Nina will not only discuss Simone’s groundbreaking success, but also highlight her struggle with drug abuse and depression.

Here’s how the studio describes Nina: 

She was one of the century’s most extraordinary talents, a 15-time Grammy nominee and Grammy Hall of Fame Recipient; her mesmerizing songs and passionate politics combined to make her the unforgettable Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana). But fame and fortune came with a price, and her later years were riddled with depression, alcohol abuse and isolation. Rediscovering the meaning of her life and work took courage, strength and one true friend: Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), the man who started out as her assistant and eventually became her loyal manager. With Clifton’s encouragement, the “high priestess of soul” began a courageous journey back to her music … and, eventually, herself.

The film has been mired in controversy since Saldana was cast in the title role. Many accused the film’s producers of attempting to whitewash the story of a woman whose identity as dark-skinned Black woman informed so much of her work.

In 2012, Nina Simone’s daughter called the film “unauthorized,” and many balked when images of Saldana with darken skinned and an enhanced nose hit the web.


The criticisms of Saldana were so fierce the actress was forced to respond to the backlash back in 2013.

What kept me from getting stressed and being hurt by the negative comments is that I’m doing it for my sisters and my brothers and I don’t care who tells me I’m not this or I’m not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me.

I did it all for love. Out of love for Nina, my people and who I am and my pride of being a Black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman. That’s my truth.

For a while it seemed like Nina would never see the light of day, but RLJ Entertainment announced it will be released in theaters and Video on Demand on April 22.

Nina was written by Cynthia Mort, and also stars Selma’s David Oyelowo.

Will you be heading to theaters to see Nina? 

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