Lupita Nyong’o Opens Up About Her Hair Being “Shunned” In Hollywood
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o has become the patron saint of natural 4c hair in Hollywood. Lupita being lauded as People Magazine’s most ‘beautiful person in the world,’ with her deep complexion and kinky tresses, challenged euro-centric standards of beauty worldwide.
Even though Lupita’s looks are now celebrated, the 35-year-old opened up about her natural hair being shunned in the entertainment industry in her new cover spread for Porter.
“My hair is something that, historically, has been shunned,” she says. “I mean, how often do you hear, ‘You can’t get a job with hair like that’?” she told the publication.
“Natural, African, kinky hair – it’s often been painted as uncivilized or wild.”
Lupita also reiterated her frustration over a 2017 GraziaUK cover that edited out her puffy fro. At the time, Lupita penned: “I am disappointed that @GraziaUK invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like.”
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As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh
Now Lupita is on a mission to catch girls when they are young and affirm their beauty and worth before the world can tell them differently. The actress can now add “author” to her resume, with her new book Sulwe set to be released in 2019. The story follows a little girl as she works to accept her skin tone. Lupita decided to write the book after her 2014 Essence Black Women In Hollywood speech went viral.
“It was about having dark skin in a world that favors traditional Western standards of beauty – light complexions and silky hair – and my own journey from insecurity to a place of self-acceptance. I was touched by how it had resonated with so many people of color, and not just black Africans. I started to realize that there was a demographic that really needed to hear this message but wouldn’t hear my speech. I wanted to get to kids before they reach an age where the world is telling them they are not as valuable.”