Released through Entertainment Weekly Tuesday, the image from Nina shows Latin actress Saldana in-character as the famed R&B singer Simone. In it, she wears an afro wig and stands in front of a microphone.
Many netizens have spoken up about the alleged use of blackface in order to make Saldana appear more similar to her real-life character, when other dark-skinned actresses remain in-line for leading movie roles.
Such industry professionals as filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry spoke up against the new poster, writing: "Was it ok to darken Zoe Saldana's skin so that she could play Nina Simone in a biopic or should they have just casted a darker actress?"
Was it ok to darken Zoe Saldana's skin so that she could play Nina Simone in a biopic or should they have just casted a darker actress?— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 1, 2016
Other netizens have also spoken out, one writing: "What a missed opportunity to find some lesser-known black actress who would have been a better fit to play Nina."
Casting Zoe Saldana and darkening her skin reinforces the idea that there can only be a few black actors taking central stage at a time.— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) March 1, 2016
The new image is yet another point of controversy regarding the film since Saldana's casting in 2012. Despite the social uproar, Saldana continued with the role, telling InStyle Magazine last June she "didn't think I was right for the part."
"But then again, I don't think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either. An artist is colorless, genderless...It's more complex than just 'Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic black woman.' The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it."