The Nina biopic, starring Zoe Saldana, will hit theaters in April amid much controversy about the decision to cast Saldana as the late, legendary Nina Simone, and today things between Saldana and the Nine Simone estate have escalated over the past few days, due mainly to the unveiling of the official poster by RLJ entertainment.

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After the poster was unveiled yesterday, social media erupted with a wealth of negative reaction, leading to Saldana posting one of Simone’s many famous quotes in a tweet, and the Simone estate’s stern response.


Today, Robert L. Johnson, the founder of both BET and the RLJ Entertainment, the production company behind the Nina biopic, released a statement throwing his full support behind Saldana, declaring that the Colombiana actress “delivers an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute to Nina Simone,” and said that the performance shouldn’t be judged “on the basis of color, or ethnicity, or physical likeness.”

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. 

The film arrives on April 22.