BET Founder Releases Statement Regarding Nina Simone Controversy


(AllHipHop News) After the estate of Nina Simone, Twitter and media world have had their way with the Zoe Saldana’s portrayal of Nina Simone in the up coming project NINA, Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) has issued a statement in regards to the NINA film controversy. Refusing to a accept the criticisms for the RLJ Entertainment project that will be distributed in the Fall of 2015, Johnson said that the “creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness.” Check out the full quote below from BET founder Robert L Johnson:
“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
For those needing a re-hash on their Black music history, Nina Simone was a prominent figure throughout the Civil Rights movement for addressing racial inequality in her songs (see “Mississippi G#####,” “To Be Young Gifted And Black” and “Old Jim Crow”)



Many in Hip-Hop will remember Talib Kweli, Kanye West and Timbaland have all famously sampled her version of “Sinnerman.”


While she reportedly believed in a more militant retaliation to the White oppression than Martin Luther King Jr, she did perform and speak at the Selma marches. Her music’s message moved people with influences from classical music, soul, jazz and other forms of music.


Some detractors of the film have taken issue with Zoe Saldana’s use of a darkening make-up and a prosthetic nose during the shoot.


The controversy also is shrouded in additional media attention due to the fact that last week’s Oscars faced criticism for a lack of diversity in its award selection process and for Hollywood’s inaccurate portrayal of historically darker skinned characters.


Check out the trailer and some images below  and let us know what you think!