'Nina' Distributors Defend Zoe Saldana After Simone's Family Blasts Biopic

Nina SImone Zoe Saldana
Courtesy Photo

Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in Nina.

Following comments from Nina Simone's family against Zoe Saldana, who plays the icon in the upcoming Nina Simone biopic Nina, BET (Black Entertainment Television) founder Robert L. Johnson has issued a statement in favor of the actress. 

Zoe Saldana's Controversial Nina Simone Biopic Reveals Trailer, Release Date

“Zoe Saldana delivers an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute to Nina Simone," reads the statement from Johnson, who is also the chairman and founder of RLJ Entertainment, which acquired the distribution rights for Nina last fall. "She gave her heart and soul to the role and displayed her extraordinary talent."

Johnson continues, "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 late songstress' family slammed Saldana on Twitter after the actress tweeted a quote from Simone. "Cool story but please take Nina's name out your mouth. For the rest of your life," the post read.

Nina Simone's Family to Zoe Saldana: 'Take Nina's Name Out Your Mouth. For the Rest of Your Life'

Nina, which also stars actor David Oyelowo, lands in theaters on April 22, nearly two years after its debut at Cannes 2014.