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Bob Johnson Speaks Out on NINA Controversy

Ever since it was announced that Actress Zoe Saldana landed the lead role in the much-anticipated biopic, NINA, plenty of people have expressed disdain, acceptance and/or confusion.

But now, RLJ Entertainment and BET Founder Bob Johnson has something to say.

As the release date for the production nears, Johnson, who acquired the rights to NINA for distribution last September, defended the casting of Saldana in the role.

“Zoe Saldana delivers an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute to Nina Simone,” Johnson said in a statement sent to JET. “She gave her heart and soul to the role and displayed her extraordinary talent. 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. We are proud to distribute the film headlined by Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo on April 22, 2016.”

Many have criticized the production’s choice of Saldana for the role not just because Simone’s family is against the decision (which should be taken into account), but also because producers have selected an actress who doesn’t seem to quite fit Ms. Simone’s physical identity.

Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think in the comments.