Nina Simone's daughter defends Zoe Saldana amid biopic controversy

Story highlights

  • The singer's daughter says the controversy over "Nina" is not the actress' fault
  • She says the filmmaker is to blame for inaccuracies in the project

(CNN)While Zoe Saldana has been taking heat for her portrayal of Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic, the singer's daughter is defending the actress.

Lisa Simone Kelly told Time magazine, "It's unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture.
    "It's clear she brought her best to this project, but unfortunately she's being attacked when she's not responsible for any of the writing or the lies," Simone Kelly said.
    Saldana, who is Latina, had her skin darkened for her portrayal of Simone in "Nina." Many have considered the alteration of her features -- including the use of a prosthetic nose -- to be similar to the "blackface" that mimicked African-Americans.
    A tweet from the "Official Twitter for the Estate & Legacy of Dr. Nina Simone" that was directed at Saldana last week said, "Cool story but please take Nina's name out your mouth. For the rest of your life."
    Family members told Time that a friend had been hired years ago to handle social media.
    Simone Kelly said she blamed the director, Cynthia Mort, for inaccuracies in the movie, including the portrayal of her mother's relationship with her manager, Clifton Henderson, which the story centers around. She said the family was not consulted on the film.
    "The project has been tainted from the very beginning," Simone Kelly said. "Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother's life, and everyone now knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered."