Casting Colorism, Controversial Only When Light Plays Dark?



So… remember all Black Hell that broke loose over a “lightskinned” Afro-Latina actress, Zoe Saldana, being tapped to play the legendary Nina Simone? The crux of the ‘blacklash’ was “she looks nothing like Nina!”

Translation: Zoe’s “lightskin and ‘good’ hair” were a deal-breaker for Black folks, and ‘we’ were not having it. (Leaked production pics of Zoe in what was decried as ‘blackface’ makeup to look like Nina… didn’t help her case.)


The controversy was so swift and visceral, Zoe Saldana was compelled to defend not only her choice to accept the role of Nina Simone, but also to defend her ethnic ‘authenticity’ as a Black-Latina woman. Which I found sad and unfortunate the attacks got so personal that a Black actress was pressured to prove she’s aesthetically and genetically “Black enough.”

Now… fast-forward past many other controversial castings that caused cries of colorism when a ‘lightskinned’ actor played…

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