Zoe Saldana was heavily criticized for portraying Nina Simone in the 2016 biopic.

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“I should have never played Nina,” Saldana admitted during an interview with Pose creator Steven Canals on Instagram Live on Tuesday.

“I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago, which was a different leverage, but it was leverage nonetheless,” she continued. “I should have done everything in my power to cast a black woman to play an exceptionally perfect black woman.”


The Afro-Latina actress, who had to wear a prosthetic nose and darkened her skin for the role, previously defended her decision to play the civil rights activist. “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me — Not fear… I mean really, no fear,” Saldana tweeted quoting Nina.

“There’s no one way to be black. I’m black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am black. I’m raising black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain,” she said during an interview with Allure in 2016.

Nina’s estate responded, “Cool story but please take Nina’s name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life.”

But Zoe Saldana came to her senses and admitted that Simone “deserved better.”

“I thought back then that I had the permission [to play her] because I was a black woman,” Saldana said.

“And I am. But it was Nina Simone. And Nina had a life and she had a journey that should have been – and should be – honored to the most specific detail because she was a specifically detailed individual.”