Los Angeles: Amid rising criticism of Zoe Saldana for not being black enough to portray Nina Simone in the biopic, the film's director and the singer's daughter have defended the actress.
Simone's only child Lisa Simone Kelly thought it was unfair to attack Saldana for her role in "Nina" like that, reported Ace Showbiz.
"It's unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture," Kelly told TIME.
"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."
The film's director Cynthia Mort asked people to appreciate the huge effort that the actress had put into portraying the singer and civil right activist.
"Zoe gave an amazingly courageous and great performance. I think that's all that should matter. I wish the movie well. There are very different visions of what the movie could have been and should have been. Other than that, I think Zoe was amazing, and David Oyelowo was amazing, and I'm proud of a lot of the movie," Mort said.
Saldana's casting was controversial since she was half Puerto Rican. Simone's family lashed out at the actress with a tweet, "Take Nina's name out your mouth. For the rest of your life."
The estate has urged fans to host their own Nina Simone listening and viewing parties on the day the movie is released.
But the trouble surrounding "Nina" had begun all the way back in 2010. Mary J Blige was originally attached to star as the Jazz legend but she dropped out while the movie faced funding issues.
Mort also launched a lawsuit against the film's production company in 2014 for delaying the film's release in addition to accusing producers for excluding her in the decision-making process.