By Tomilola Coco Adeyemo
Yesterday, the official trailer of the biopic of Legendary Singer Nina Simone was released.
The biopic which tells the story of Nina Simone and her relationship with Clifton Henderson plus her anger management issues, stars Zoe Saldana in the role of Nina and Nigeria’s David Oyelowo as Clifton Henderson.
However, someone should have warned the Producers of this movie to get more Nigeria on board because I bet even they could not have expected the heavy backlash that has trailed casting Zoe Saldana (right from 2012 when casting began) a Puerto Rican/Dominican woman as Nina.
You ask why more Nigeria? I say have you been watching Hollywood recently?
Actually, I would have said have you been watching the music, fashion, media in America recently (because like Oxygen, we everywhere) but for now, I’d focus on Actors in Hollywood.
Now, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest, most critically acclaimed movies in Hollywood in recent history and see how the Nigerian magic has changed lives and is changing lives.
Flashback to Chiwetel Ejiofor as a leading man in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Chiwetel slaved (pun intended) through that production and gave nothing but his A game. His academy award nomination is a proof of that.
Enter David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in Ava Duvernay’s Selma. It has been said that David has given the best MLK performance ever seen and the bar has been raised forever where that role is concerned.
Still on Selma, Coretta Scott King played by Carmen Ejogo is also a proof of the potency of the Nigerian magic. Oh, y’all did not know Carmen was half Naija? Oh, she very well is and she has reprised the role of Mrs King more than once and keeps nailing it every time she touches it.
Talking about Crazy, remember Crazy Eyes from Netflix’s hit series Orange Is The New Black? As in Uzo Aduba? The one woman who has been able to win best Actress in a comedy and drama at the Emmys in the same damn role?
Talk about being born with the star quality as a Nigerian.
Ehen, as per star quality, one of the favorite Star Wars characters this year was portrayed by John Boyega, who is unapologetically Nigerian and who clearly, can act his life out.
These guys, each one of them, were newcomers in the business when they were casted and they brought life into their characters, making them memorable and impossible to forget.
They also worked their Nigerian butts off for these roles so much that everyone had to learn to pronounce their names.
Which makes me wonder why Adepero Oduye was never considered as Nina Simone? With a striking resemblance and the ability to act (Pariah, 12 Years A Slave), she could have been the next Nigerian bringing magic to yet another Hollywood movie.
Another Nigerian who would no doubt, have guaranteed a critical and box office success for the biopic.
Because Nigerian magic, which if you ask me, lies in our ability to key into opportunities and be passionate about every single thing we do.