Celebrity Interviews

Zoe Saldana Addresses Hollywood, The Oscars & Nina Simone Biopic Backlash: “I’m Never Going to Justify or Explain My Blackness”

Starring in “Star Trek Beyond” which hits theaters this Friday, July 22nd, actress Zoe Saldana joins Sway in the Morning to speak on the film and so much more.

Joking about being in the dog house after her last interview with Sway, Saldana shares a bit about her upbringing. Moving from New Jersey to New York and then to the Dominican Republic where she lived until the age of 17, Saldana jokes about missing out on a large amount of pop culture before catching up very quickly with a location change to Los Angeles.

Speaking on “Star Trek Beyond” Saldana praises the art behind the original story of Star Trek. “We need art more than ever to give us hope,” she says. With the desire to see the world in a better place she opens up about being worried about our nation but never losing hope.

Sharing a little bit of the plot she candidly speaks on moving forward without Anton Yelchin who tragically lost his life last month. “He was someone worth knowing,” she says. Continuing on she explains that she’s grateful his art will live on.

Getting more and more transparent throughout Saldana speaks on The Oscars and the conversation about bringing more people of color on board. She say’s she’s glad the conversation is moving forward and it’s not being dropped. However, responding out of anger and letting the award control us is not the answer.

Things continue with mention of the recent Nina Simone biopic Saldana starred in which received backlashed about how it was casted. “Anything you do with your heart can never be wrong,” she says candidly. “I’m never going to justify or explain my blackness.”

Open and honest, Saldana ends the interview by sharing her thoughts on striving for growth. Watch the full interview above and keep up with Zoe Saldana on Twitter @zoesaldana.


Icon of hip-hop culture and a pivotal part of the MTV News team, Sway has been a staple of the music-news arena for more than a decade. From giving Eminem, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac their very first radio airplay on his local show in the mid-’90s to providing television viewers with their first good look at some of today’s hottest celebrities in music, film, fashion and sports. Sway has been there for some of music and the world’s biggest moments.

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