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"It's unfortunate that Zoë Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture," said Simone Kelly

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March 04, 2016 03:20 PM

Nina Simone‘s daughter is coming to Zoë Saldana‘s defense.

Lisa Simone Kelly, Simone’s only daughter, has said that despite the ongoing controversy, she is “not upset” with Saldana for her portraying her mother in the upcoming biopic Nina.

“It’s unfortunate that Zoë Saldana is being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture,” Simone Kelly, 53, told Time. “it’s clear she brought her best to this project but unfortunately she’s being attached when she’s not responsible for any of the writing or the lies.”

When Saldana was cast in 2012, many commentators objected to the actress playing the darker-skinned music icon.

But while Simone Kelly doesn’t place any blame on Saldana, she said she is still unhappy with the film. She said the storyline of the film, which follows the relationship between Simone and her former nurse-turned-manager Clifton Henderson, was inaccurate and that the “project has been tainted from the very beginning.”

“The movie is about a relationship between my mother and Clifton that never took place. They never had an amorous relationship,” she said, adding that Henderson was gay. “Clearly, it is not the truth about my mother’s life and everyone knows that. This is not how you want your loved ones remembered.”

The production company behind the biopic also came to Saldana’s defense, saying she “delivers an exceptional and mesmerizing tribute to Nina Simone.”

Back in 2013, Saldana told HipHollywood.com of the controversy, “I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me. So that is my truth and that set me free.”

Nina hits theaters on April 22.

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