*BET founder Robert L. Johnson, whose company RLJ Entertainment is distributing the Nina Simone biopic “Nina,” has released a statement defending Zoe Saldana after Simone’s estate tweeted their disapproval of her starring role.
Below, the statement in its entirety:
“Zoe Saldana delivers an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute to Nina Simone. She gave her heart and soul to the role and displayed her extraordinary talent. The most important thing is that creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness. Quality entertainment should be measured by the sheer force of creativity and the commitment that an actor or actress brings to the performance. We are proud to distribute the film headlined by Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo on April 22, 2016.”
Robert L. Johnson, Founder and Chairman, RLJ Entertainment
Founder, Black Entertainment Television (BET)
As previously reported, Simone’s estate responded to a tweet Saldana sent out in response to the backlash over her portrayal, and they did not mince words.
.@zoesaldana Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.
— Nina Simone (@NinaSimoneMusic) March 3, 2016
Watch the newly-released trailer for “Nina” below: