Zoe Saldana Shrugs Off Nina Simone Backlash

'I know who I am, and I know what Nina Simone means to me'

Zoe Saldana
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
February 28, 2013 10:40 AM ET

In a pre-Oscars interview with HipHollywood, Zoe Saldana responded to the backlash that resulted when she took the role of Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina, replacing R&B star Mary J. Blige. 

"What keeps me focused and what kept me from getting stressed from being hurt by the comments is I'm doing it for my sisters, I'm doing it for my brothers, and I don't care who tells me I am not this and I am not that," the Star Trek actress said. "I know who I am, and I know what Nina Simone means to me." You can check out the full interview below.

100 Greatest Singers: Nina Simone

Saldana's casting was met with criticism as many took issue with the fact that she wasn't a singer, doesn't claim to be African-American and doesn't resemble Simone

Still, Saldana maintained that regardless of the response to the film, positive or negative, she would keep her chin up. "That's who I am and that's who I'll be – and Nina was like that too," she said. "I did it out of love: Out of love for Nina, out of love for my people and who I am, and my pride of being a black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman." 

 Nina reportedly began production in Los Angeles back in October. The film was written by Cynthia Mort, who's also attached to direct.

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