Lupita Nyong’o has taken the world by storm!! I was so excited for her when she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role her in 12 Years a Slave (did anyone else shed a tear during her acceptance speech?)
Like the rest of the world, I fell in love with her beauty, style and grace during the award season. Every time she hit the red carpet, it was like BAM! She can wear just about anything. And during her interviews, she was always so positive and humbled by the crazy journey she was experiencing.
During the Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, Lupita talked about beauty. After all, people all over the world are fascinated by her beauty and gorgeous skin. She started her speech reading a part of a letter she received from a young girl who viewed her as a role model.
‘Dear Lupita,’ it reads. ‘I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.’
She also spoke about how she used to pray to God for lighter skin. It wasn’t until she saw model Alex Wek on the runways and in magazines that she began to understand that 1) her dark skin was indeed beautiful and 2) beauty is something that just had to be. She couldn’t rely on how she looked to sustain her. Please check out her speech below:
Someone recently commented on a fashion blog post about Lupita that the actress may be overexposed. After all, every other post for 2 months was about her. She was EVERYWHERE; magazines, blogs and entertainment shows. A week couldn’t go by without seeing a picture of Lupita online.
But in this case, is overexposure really a bad thing? For some people it may be. But for Lupita, I don’t think so. The letter she received from a young girl wanting to lighten her skin is a testament to that. We live in a world where black beauty and talent is not always acknowledged and appreciated. In our society, the definition of black beauty is very limited; let’s just say, dark skin women usually don’t fit the bill. In Hollywood and so many other industries, black women are fighting left and right to be acknowledge and respected for their talent and beauty. That is why it is up to black women to celebrate who we are and each other (hence why Black Girls Rock was created).
I think what makes this “Lupita era” so exciting is that she is a representation of so many women and in turn has become a role model for so many young girls; especially dark skin girls. She sends a message that beauty and success are not defined by how you look or where you come from. Lupita’s “overexposure” is a message to young girls (and women) everywhere that your skin is only a fraction of who you are. Compassion for oneself and others is what makes us beautiful. Lupita has also set the example that intelligence, grace, humility and hard work is what sets us apart from the rest.
I pray that all young girls watching Lupita feel inspired to love the skin they’re in, but also feel like their dreams can one day become their reality. The sky is the limit!
“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid” – Lupita Nyong’o