Lisa Simone Kelly has criticised the biopic based on her mother Nina Simone, revealing its “tainted” nature. At the same time, she defended the star of the biotopic Zoe Saldana. The trailer for Nina was released on Wednesday.
“The project has been tainted from the very beginning. Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother’s life and everyone now knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered,” Kelly told Time.
She slammed the depicted relationship between her mother and her manager Clifton Henderson. “The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton which never took place. They never had an amorous relationship.”
She also mentioned Saldana, who had been criticised by many due to her appearance. Someone on Simone’s official Twitter account, responded coldly to the actress after she recently tweeted a quote from Simone.
.@zoesaldana Cool story but please take Nina's name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.
— Nina Simone (@NinaSimoneMusic) March 3, 2016
Saldana was cast as the singer back in 2012. Back then, Kelly took to The New York Times to agree that she was not the best choice for the role. “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”
Now four years later, she thought it was “unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture.”
But she maintains her views from 2012. “There are many superb actresses of color who could more adequately represent my mother and could bring her to the screen with the proper script, the proper team and a sense of wanting to bring the truth of my mother’s journey to the masses,” she said. “And Nina, in my opinion, doesn’t do any of that,” she continued.
Kelly also says she was unaware of the tweet sent to Saldana via her mother’s account.
She and her family are far happier with the documentary What happened to Miss Simone?, which has been authorised and accepted as “more accurate”. The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. It was beat by Amy, based on the life of Amy Winehouse, at the ceremony last week.
“I don’t have to justify, define or educate anybody about my mother anymore. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m free in a way that I have never been before.”