This particular issue has come to the surface again thanks to a casting director. A biopic of Nina Simone, jazz singer and activist, has started production. And the actress playing her will be...wait for it...Zoe Saldana. Now you might not think anything of it until you realize that the real Nina Simone is...wait for it... a dark skin woman. This has caused some uproar in the black community. The main question being asked is why didn't they just hire a dark skin actress? Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, India Arie, Jennifer Hudson. According to those close to her, Ms. Simone said before she died that she wanted Whoopie Goldberg to play her in her biopic.
|Really Hollywood? Were all the dark actresses busy?|
Now I have nothing against Zoe Saldana and I usually do not get caught up in race wars concerning movies but I have to say that I am none too happy about this choice myself. Dang, Hollywood, you keeping dark skin roles away from dark skin women too!! This is just outrageous!! Especially since in this case the lead role, Nina Simone, was proud of her dark skin and kinky fro. Hollywood has a long history of not being too fond of dark meat. When you see dark skin women on screen they are playing maids, prostitutes, and very seldom the love interest. Hollywood has helped form the idea that darker woman are at the bottom of the beauty totem pole. And this leads to my next point.
We must stop looking to the media to find pride in our dark skin. As a chocolate baby growing up, I do not remember seeing many women on TV that looked like me. Princess Tiana was not even a thought. I grew up with Belle, Areial, and Pocahontas was the closest thing to a black Disney princess. It would not be until Moesha and Parkers premiered that I would see women the same shade as me. Luckily, I had a mother that told me regularly that I was beautiful. I had to make myself believe that my dark skin was just as pretty as fair skin (not always so easy when most of the women in your family are light skin).
Now I do not think anything of it. I love my Hershey Kiss skin. I wear bright colors to highlight it. I am no longer afraid of lip sticks on my dark skin. I love how my name even means dark. Whatever your shade, embrace it and love it! And Hollywood, do better. What's next? Beyonce playing Harriet Tubman.