Nina Simone (1933-2003), one time Grammy Hall of Fame Award winner and fifteen times nominee, became involved in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. Civil rights messages became an integral part of her songs - the first time with "Mississippi Goddam", a song that was boycotted in some southern states, (via) a song she had written in response to the assassination of the civil rights activist Medgar Evers (1925-1963) and the Birmingham church bombing in 1963 (via).
Recently, her biography - or rather the casting decision for the film "Nina" - caused some controversy. The Afro-Latina actress of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent Zoe Saldana was chosen to play Nina Simone. Some criticised the fact that Saldana would barely resemble Simone (via), that Hollywood would "whitewash and lightwash" and choose what media considers blackness to be. An online petition followed to change the cast and replace Saldana (via). The petition was signed by more than 10.000 people (via). When photos of Zoe Saldana were published wearing an afro wig and darker makeup in order to resemble Simone and to be able to play her role, accusations of blackface and parody followed (via).
Nina Simone's daughter: "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." (via)