It’s here that the term 'appropriation' bears some usage. We’re not talking about someone inspired by the deeper lessons of Simone’s life and her music. We are talking about people who think it’s fine to profit off her music while heedlessly contributing to the kind of pain that brought that music into being. To acknowledge that pain, to consider it in casting, would be inconvenient—as anti-racist action always is.
It would mean giving an opportunity to someone who’s actively experienced the kind of pain that plagued Simone. That would doubtlessly mean a diminished chance at garnering funds for such a film. And that, in turn, would court years of delays and the possibility of the film never coming into being. That would be unfortunate—but less so for Nina Simone than for the agents who feel themselves entitled to profit her story.
Simone's family have too spoken out about the casting, replying to a tweet send out by the actress:
But it is perhaps this one comment, left on the bottom of a story by NPR, reporting on Coates' original article that speaks volumes about the problematic casting of Saldana in this role:
That comment again, ladies and gents:
Morgan freedman has played white roles like god before, color is irrelevant