A Nina Simone Fan's Take On Why Zoe Saldana Is The Wrong Pick

A Nina Simone Fan's Take On Why Zoe Saldana Is The Wrong Pick

When will Hollywood learn?

During the 1960s, black entertainers had a difficult choice to make regarding their careers: continue to play to white audiences, dulling their blackness and, in effect, racially neutering themselves, or proudly embody black pride. While some, such as Diana Ross, continued to shy away from racial politics, others such as Harry Belafonte and Aretha Franklin vividly embraced their racial heritage.

And then there was Nina Simone.

Simone, born Eunice Waymon, was a classically trained pianist and singer/songwriter. She was also a shockingly political performer, a living, breathing symbol of unabashed black pride. In 1964, while The Supremes were asking where their love went and Dionne Warwick told her ex to "Walk On By", Simone was roaring about the racism that dominated southern society with her rousing "Mississippi Goddam". She was a diverse performer who deftly moved from show tunes to political anthems, blues and jazz to gospel and soul. Sadly, she never received the recognition to which her talent entitled her, and her later life was marred by her crippling bipolar disorder and her exile to Barbados, then Liberia, then finally Europe. Though she never reached the same heights as her contemporaries, her influence is palpable in today's rising black artists. Her contralto voice, intimidating or soothing depending on the mood of the song, transcends, but make no mistake, her music is above all else, artistic activism; she is proud to be black, and every nuanced note expresses that.

A biopic of her life, which has been mired in development hell for several years, has finally begun to make newsworthy headway, and the choice of Zoe Saldana to portray Simone has caused a considerable backlash. Saldana, a mixed-race woman who identifies as black, donned skin-darkening paint and a prosthetic nose to become Simone, which has rightfully irritated many. Simone's understated fame can be directly traced to both her activism and, more strikingly, her dark skin. Her limited exposure was in direct contrast to the national notoriety that performers such as Dorothy Dandridge, Diahann Carroll, and Barbara McNair enjoyed.

Academy Award-nominee Dorothy Dandridge

Diahann Carroll, whose 1968 sitcom "Julia" was "groundbreaking".

Barbara McNair, the first black woman to host her own variety show.

Put simply, the only way for a black woman to garner fame and fortune in the mid-20th century was to either be light-skinned and beautiful, with blackness as a secondary or even tertiary characteristic, or for darker-skinned women, such as Academy Award-winner Hattie McDaniel, to accept demeaning, servile roles, primarily maids and mammies. Simone's skin color, mixed in equal parts with her black pride, sealed her fate; to languish in relative obscurity while her lighter, brighter, whiter counterparts soared. And by casting Saldana, producers are engaging in this same outdated and offensive style of pandering to the public. By forcing a light-skinned black woman to sport blackface is an incomparable disgrace to Simone, her legacy, her craft, and the scores of women like her who were born too dark to succeed in America's politicized cultural climate. What many in Hollywood fail to realize is that casting a black actor is not enough. The black diaspora must be represented in its entirety across the spectrum of film and television, and to callously pave over Simone's legacy is to contribute to the same tactics that forced her to flee the United States in 1970. She deserves better, the black community deserves better, the viewing public deserves better.

Save your money. Instead of paying the extortionate costs of a movie ticket, buy an old Nina Simone album. They, at least, offer a genuine taste of the indelible passion with which she sang and lived.

And at least we can all reassure ourselves that this film doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning any Oscars.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."

It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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A Beginner's Guide to Milwaukee Sports

Part I: The Bucks


Being a college student in Milwaukee has its perks, especially for sports fans. Now, while some may have brought their hometown teams to college, others (myself included) may have warmed up to the Cream City teams without knowing much about them. If this is the case for you, then these pointers can help you start enjoying Milwaukee basketball without looking and sounding like a bandwagon fan.

Quick History


Here are some facts about the Bucks that can make you feel more knowledgeable about the franchise:

- They have only won one championship (back in 1971) and have lost one NBA Finals series (1974) (Land of Basketball)

- They have only had one* MVP-caliber player in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33) during the 1971, 1972, and 1974 seasons (Land of Basketball)

- Other Notable Players Include: Oscar Robertson (#1), Sidney Moncrief (#4), Jon McGlocklin (#14) and Ray Allen (#34) (Land of Basketball)

*Giannis Antetokounmpo may win the MVP award this year

sited: https://www.landofbasketball.com/teams/milwaukee_bucks.htm

Gear Up


This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Wearing team's colors or spirit wear is a must, especially if you're going to a game. Most items like hats and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable, and these are great if you're not trying to break the bank. Buying your gear from a sporting goods store will usually be cheaper than buying them from the team store (the main one of which is located in Fiserv Forum). Most online stores like NBA.com, Fanatics, Fansedge, and sometimes even the team's online store will have sales on sports gear, so getting a good deal on team wear is always a plus!

A Word of Caution: Jerseys

All three of these players are not part of the 2018-2019 roster and #77 and #3 have been reused by current players Ersan Ilyasova (#77) and George Hill (#3)


If you're willing to go the extra mile, buying a jersey can really get you into locked in and pumped for the live action. However, it should be kept in mind that official Nike NBA jerseys range from $110-$250, so they definitely are an investment. While there are other options available like the FastBreak jerseys by Fanatics, they are a simpler (still official) knockoff of the Nike jerseys. Also; beware buying sale jerseys. There are usually three reasons why jerseys are ever on sale (aside from a storewide sale): a player is injured, a player doesn't play much and is about to be traded, or a player has been traded. While there is nothing wrong with having the jersey of a player who went on to another team (like Kareem and Allen), you are not exactly going to get brownie points for wearing a Jabari Parker or a Thon Maker jersey anytime soon.

Know The Current Squad

Fiserv Forum, Home of the Milwaukee Bucks


Everyone in Milwaukee has heard of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but who else is part of the supporting cast?

Starting Five for the 2018-2019 Milwaukee Bucks (Basketball Reference):

- #6 Eric Bledsoe at Point Guard

- #13 Malcolm "The President" Brogdon at Shooting Guard

- #22 Khris "Money" Middleton at Small Forward

- #34 Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo at Power Forward

- #11 Brook "Splash Mountain" Lopez at Center

Student Perk


Using your university email, you can get special discount ticket offers for home games by signing up for the Bucks' Student Rush Program. Tickets usually start at $15 per ticket, and the seats available may depend on who the Bucks are playing (and how well they are doing during the season).

Get Involved and Have Fun!

Mascot Crawl GIF by NBA - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

Don't be afraid to get into it! The Bucks are an amazing team to watch and they love Bucks Nation. In addition to cheering at games, going to team events and player appearances can be great ways to make memories and even get an autograph or two!

Are You a Bucks Fan Now?🦌


I think Giannis would agree!

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