This Week in Black Twitter: 'Nina' biopic trailer sparks reactions, BLM criticized

Release of the 'Nina' biopic trailer revives the issue of colorism and diversity in Hollywood.

Welcome back to This Week in Black Twitter, your weekly digest of the happenings on Black Twitter and cultural conversations on the Web. Topics will span the gamut — with pop culture, politics, sports, lifestyles and everything in between. This week: casting a Nina Simone biopic, #NotYourMule and #WhereWas BLM.

1. On Wednesday, the first trailer for the Nina Simone biopic "Nina" was released, reviving the issue of colorism, in which light skin is favored over dark skin. 

Zoe Saldana, a light-skinned actress, was cast to play the iconic singer and activist in 2012. Since, the film has been criticized by Simone’s family. In a 2012 New York Times article, Simone Kelly said: “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”

The trailer shows Saldana in darker-skinned makeup, which has been called out as blackface, with a prosthetic nose and afro wig. Critics ask: Why not skip all that and cast a dark-skinned actress? There’s certainly no shortage of beautiful, dark-skinned sisters who are more than qualified to play the part.

It didn't exactly help that almost all of the producers are white, exemplifying the argument that Hollywood needs to diversify.

The Simone estate isn't playing any games.

Yet another casting decision that sparked negative reactions.

 
2. Speaking of Hollywood and diversity, Chris Rock’s opening monologue at the Oscar’s generated a lot of buzz – some good and some bad. In between the #OscarsSoWhite tweets and comments about Stacey Dash's cameo, I hope you didn't miss out on #NotYourMule. The hashtag discusses the lack of inclusion of Latinos and Asian-Americans in Rock's monologue and the anti-blackness sentiment among non-black people of color, also referred to as NBPC.

The conversation was sparked by journalist Jose Antonio Vargas' tweet.

Later on he gave context, writing: "Though my question was posed in the spirit of 'This is our struggle, too,' it was heard by many in the competitive vein of 'what about me?'/'what about us?'" But users had already responded, concluding that some NBPC stay silent while black people — black women especially — lay the groundwork for movements that cater to marginalized groups.

To some, the argument behind the hashtag seemed divisive.

3. Oozing with wit and sarcasm, users hilariously created #WhereWasBLMWhen.

Sister Toldjah, a contributing writer for Independent Journal Review, wrote an article about the death of 6-year-old King Carter and criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for not mobilizing after his death. The reason, Toldjah argues, is because his killers were black.

"Regardless of the races of the victims and regardless of the races of the offenders, all innocent life matters, and we should all be fighting for every last one of them," she wrote.

On Saturday night, Black Twitter launched a firestorm of tweets with the hashtag #WhereWasBLM in response to the writer's notion that BLM doesn't care about black-on-black crime.

It all started with @rodimusprime:

And it grew from there, with people contributing gifs and photos from films like "Hardball" and the "Color Purple."

Poor Michelle. (But I can't stop watching/laughing at this gif.)

Other hashtags to check out from this past week: #TrapCovers and #WhitePeopleInvitedToTheCookout. (You can thank me later.)

mpryce@baltsun.com

twitter.com/megpryce

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