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Mary J. Blige to Play Nina Simone

Mary J. Blige to Play Nina Simone

Mary J. Blige will play soul queen Nina Simone in Nina, an upcoming movie!

The film will star Mary J, 39, in a story focusing on Nina’s relationship with her assistant, Clifton Henderson, to be played by David Oyelowo (via Billboard).

The film will shoot this fall.

This isn’t MJ‘s first foray into acting – most recently, she had a supporting role in Tyler Perry‘s I Can Do Bad All By Myself

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Credit: Michael Loccisano; Photos: Getty
Posted to: Mary J Blige

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  • AS

    Sarah is venomous, vicious and bitchy , just like her pal — lainey lui.

  • Jermaine

    Her voice gives me goosebumps..

  • III

    Love Mary.

  • FLO


  • happy girl

    No no no no no no nono. Nina was BREATHTAKING. Her voice, her mannerisms, her style. Maybe Mary could pull it off but I don’t see it. I think even Jennifer Hudson would have been a better pick. This calls for someone in the realm of Whoopi Goldberg acting chops. Another Hollywood debacle ruining a great icon. NOOOOOOO!. If you don;t know Nina’s music. Look her up. There is nothing like it. Brilliant.

  • noeffinway!!!

    No, no, no. don’t do it. hollywood. mary j is no nina.

  • wtf?

    Mary J??????? Non singing Mary???? please no. Why not get a real actress? So many brilliant african american female actresses, trained and can sing too…why not give them a break? Ugh Forget this one….

  • …………

    @wtf?: Non singing what?

  • LDN

    @happy girl: You’d rather Hudson play Nina? Gurl are you mad? You might as well throw Beyonce in as well. MJB is the best choice hands DOWN!

  • tata

    Omg. please no. I love mary j blige but nina simone was a goddess. Look up IF YOU KNEW live at ronnie scott… and witness the glory of nina. please. like someone said, someone like whoopi would be amazing.

  • jonae

    idk idk

  • happy girl

    LDN: First of all, Nina was a singer and Pianist educated at Julliard. She needs someone who understands that journey. Also, America did not accept her because she was dark-skinned African-American. Mary J is light skin. Just that alone does not convey the issues Nina had to suffer from. She said she had to go to Paris but to be seen as a person. On so many levels, Mary J is a bad choice. And I like Mary. I am not saying Jennifer Hudson would be a good choice, I say she would be a BETTER choice than Mary. You need like a young Whoopi Goldberg. I can’t think of anyone but she would have to look like Fantasia and play piano like Alicia Keyes. Why doesn’t Hollywood want to gamble on an unknown? I am sure Julliard has many artists right now who would be perfect for this role. But because Mary sells albums they think she is right. Just like they thought Beyonce was right for Etta James. I like Beyonce but I think she was the wrong person – dramatically – to play Etta. I guess money talks in Hollywood.

  • happy girl

    you tell me this woman can be played by mary j. blige! no way. maybe india ari would be good:

  • happy girl

    no to mary j. this woman was out of this world:

  • plax

    happygirl – someone with the vibe of lauryn hill, the looks of whoopi, the pianotingling of rachelle ferrell. all that wrapped in one. mary is amazing, but definitely not my first choice.

  • Susie#1

    I used to see Nina Simone play in small clubs in Detroit, sitting just at the end of her piano. She was breathtaking, amazing! She came in, sat down, and said, very quietly: I will not start playing until the room is quiet. And she played and sang and once in a while threw in an anecdote. She was able to make her voice soar or whisper. What a wonder. If you listen to her early recordings, you’ll become a fan: Wild is the Wind, The Other Woman, I Loves you Porgie, Rags and Old Iron; that’s just the beginning!

  • Namerequired

    NO!!! I love Mary but Heck No. Nina is a true icon, I ‘m now dreading the Lena Horne bio pic that will probably be coming soon, they’ll probably cast another singer who can’t act maybe Alicia Keys or Rhianna.

    Note to Hollywood producer’s just because someone can emote will singing does not mean they can emote for 90-120 minutes on the silver screen. Mary J, Beyonce etc can not act their way out of a paper bag. Why can’t producer’s cast an unknown, just take yourself down to Broadway or an acting school.

    I think Anika Noni Rose or if they have to get a singer India Arie or Lauryn Hill (who has acting experience)

  • happy girl

    Namerequired: Anika is a great choice. Btw, Alicia Keyes IS doing the Lena Horne biopic already. That’s not too bad but I dread it too. Remember when Janet Jackson wanted to play Dorothy Dandridge? lol. Hollywood has no imagination when it comes to biopics.

  • Lydia

    NOOOOOOO!!! I don’t think much of Mary as a singer (I do have one of her CDs though) and definitely a lot less as an actress. She did not do anything in Tyler Perry’s movie and some other movie I saw years ago. I hope this is not true!

  • happy girl

    plax:i think what we are saying, you and i, is nina simone is irreplaceable. you’d need 10 different women to play that one great woman. she is so many things. i love the way nina spoke. a real southern drawl with finesse. mary j is from mount vernon, ny and talks like it too. she is so wrong. sorry marry, i like you a lot but this is over your head honey. and with no real acting experience to boot. yikes. lol.

  • plax

    happy girl: LOL! yes, i think they should cast a totally unknown talent. i’m sick of singers with no acting talent whatsoever, doing biopics. beyonce in cadillac records made me c r i n g e. she has no emotion or spontaneity in her acting whatsoever.

  • mrs_fuzzybee

    Physically I think Mary can pull off playing Nina. But Nina had a unique and wonderful voice and breathy way of singing. Nina is almost a low baritone compared to Mary, so as long as they use the masters of Nina singing rather than having Mary try and massacre Nina’s songs it would be worth seeing. That is if you love old jazz. I grew up on the stuff & with my parents & aunts & uncles making pilgrimage to the Playboy Jazz Festival and to the Hollywood Bowl to see these classical jazz masters of which Nina Simone is one. It would suck for new music fans to think that Mary’s wonderful voice in anyway sounds like Nina’s wonderful voice.
    Many already think the Beyonce sound just like Etta when that is so far from true its laughable. OK old person signing off. Well older than most here I think.

  • http://justjared Deke

    This woman has always bugged me.

  • Mila

    @happy girl: Um, Mary J is not pale-skinned. She is a [beautiful] dark-skinned woman: First time I’m hearing anyone call her that.


    MJB is just fabulous, can do no wrong. Everyone I know loves her. She’s a living legend, and one of the few women who does not take everything they offer her, and attend every event she is invited to, like ‘some’ do. She is smart, strong and so talented. I have faith in her, hopefully she will/can do Nina justice. I know Nina is one of her own greatest inspirations and heroins. She would not do this is she meant it half-heartedly.

  • III

    No one can compare to Nina, honestly. Mary J. will be playing homage to her. @mrs_fuzzybee as much as I like Beyonce, I have a feeling Mary will pull Nina off better than she did Etta. Though Whoopi would have been a wiser choice.

  • happy girl

    Mila: Nina was very dark skinned. And she said people called her too dark to be on records. Ridiculous idea. But it’s true. Mary is not that. Look at the pics above and see the difference in their features and skin tones. My parents loved Jazz too and Nina is up there with Abbey Lincoln, Sarah Vaughan, etc. Nina Simone is a powerhouse. Her talents are out of this world. Even if Mary J was a great actress like Whoopi, even if Mary looked like her, the fact that Mary is not in the same musical genre even makes the idea ridiculous. Nina Simone was a chanteuse – a jazz and singing great. She was kind of a genius and crazy as most geniuses. Her song “Four Women” and “Sinnerman” and “In The Dark” etc are gems. Mary J does not even operate in that Universe. Not even close. Cassandra Wilson yes. India Ari maybe. Alicia keyes maybe but Mary J cannot touch these songs and I love Mary – but it’s not her world. This coming from the daughter of a jazz expert who hung out with a couple of Jazz greats. This is wrong on many levels but Mary has the money so she will be in it. Just like Etta’s life was nothing like Beyonce;s and it showed. This is a bad idea. That’s all I’ll say. RIP Nina. Your fans remember the real you.

  • Bruce

    @happy girl: Angie Stone would have been a very good choice.

  • happy girl

    OOh! Angie Stone is a great idea. I like that. One I did not think of. Estelle, the English singer would be another great choice.

  • mrs_fuzzybee

    @SOULQUEEN: Uh not to be picky but I think you mean Heroine not Heroin. Nina voice and style was hypnotic but she isn’t actually opium.

    Hee hee I get what you’re saying though. Mary is a powerful woman and if she takes the role she will do her best to do Nina justice. However, Mary’s voice isn’t as deep and resonant as Nina’s voice.

    Both woman are amazing.

  • Meghan

    she is hot

  • Bosie

    I think Mary J Blige might do a good job…BUT WRITING a romantic story to tell Nina Simone’s life…SHE WOULD HATE SUCH CRAP…..Hollywood needs to quit making women’s stories love stories…such a boring 1990 shit.

  • no

    Mary can’t sing…Notice how many people give her a pass and say she sings with conviction…..That’s not enough. Plus her image up until recently was not a good one. Too ghetto.

    Nina Simone was a goddess…Something Mary will never be. Also Nina was a completely different galaxy than Mary. music wise. From the way Mary has condicted herself on stage and in public over the years and the type of uh music she sings, I don’t think she can get into the head of a Nina Simone.

  • wow

    The best recording Mary did was What’s the 411. It’s been downhill ever since.

  • happy girl

    And one more thing – lol – if Mary was so INTERESTED in Nina’s music, why have NONE of her songs ever been in the genre Nina sings in? Why did she not ever try to do a song that hints to a Nina Simone song during her entire career? Did she just wake up one day and say I want to act?? lol. Watch this classic clip below where Nina sings her most famous song and speaks French in the middle of it. Ummm, does Mary J. Blige speak any French? lol. This idea is so ridiculous. Ok here is a breathtaking clip:

  • Susie#1

    Here’s a clip of Nina singing Black is the Colour of my True Love’s Hair:
    Cecily Tyson would be good as Nina; she can act and has the same dignity Nina did.



  • Zack Sengun

    A great choice would be Lauryn Hill, She has the passion to make a role like this perfect, But I think she should play Rita Marley first that movie idea has been buzzing around a long time…