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Zoe Saldana will be starring in the new Star Trek film: Star Trek Into Darkness. In the film Saldana finds herself in a context where mankind has mixed with extraterrestrials, hundreds of years in the future. The actress plays the character of Nyota Uhura, a human lieutenant and communications officer, whose part in the TV series was one of the first characters of African descent to be featured in a non-menial role.

The 34-year-old star came under scrutiny  over the past year when it was announced she would portray the legendary Nina Simone in an upcoming big screen biopic. Saldana kept quit about the  criticism but now she is answering her critics.

Saldana, an American of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, was born in New Jersey and raised both in the U.S. and Dominican Republic. She says she jumped on the opportunity to play Simone because no one else was “stepping up to the plate,” and describes the Civil Rights activist and singer as a “prophet” whose narrative deserved greater attention.

“Her story needs to be told, so if nobody’s going to do it, I’ll do it,” Saldana remarks.

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