London, September 16: Zoe Saldana, who is supposed to play legendary jazz singer Nina Simone in her biopic, is embroiled in a controversy after critics claimed that she was not dark enough for the role.
According to The New York Times, there has been a concerted attempt by certain members of the online community to have the 34-year-old actress removed from Simone's role, the Daily Mail reported.
Tiffani Jones, who runs Coffee Rhetoric, raised the serious issue on her blog: "Hollywood and the media have a tendency to whitewash and lightwash a lot of stories, particularly when black actresses are concerned."
"When is it going to be OK to not be the delicate looking ideal of what the media considers blackness to be?" she wrote.
The blog is linked to an online petition run by Change.org, which has nearly 3000 supporters, who are calling for director Cynthia Mott to dismiss the 'Avatar' star from the film and hire another actress whose skin tone is closer to Simone's.
Also disapproving Saldana's casting is the late singer's daughter Simone Kelly, who has taken to her Facebook page to voice her concerns, she wrote, "Appearance-wise this is not the best choice."
Although Kelly went on to say that she had no problem with the star's acting ability, she admitted she would like to see a much darker-skinned actress like Viola Davis or Kimberly Elise take the role and said that her mother would have wanted actress Whoopi Goldberg to play her role. (ANI)