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MUST READ! Lupita Nyong’o on Praying for Lighter Skin, Dencia’s “Whitenicious” & Black Beauty



Lupita Nyong'o - Essence Magazine - February 2014 - BellaNaija 02 (1)

Black is always beautiful. Ladies, grab your tissues.

Lupita Nyong’o gives us another reason to love her.

Yesterday Thursday 27th February 2014, African-American publication Essence Magazine held its 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon in Beverly Hills, California, USA.

Guests include Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Gayle King, Kerry Washington, Michael Ealy, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Angela Bassett and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Lupita who is nominated for an Oscar for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, was honoured at the event. She arrived looked stunning as always in a white sleeveless crop top and skirt from Giambattista Valli‘s Spring 2014 collection.

When accepting her award, Lupita who was introduced by Alfre Woodard – her co-star, discussed on dark beauty. I think we can all agree that part of Lupita’s success is because of her skin colour.

She spoke on how a fan wrote a letter that she wanted to buy Dencia‘s “Whitenicious”, her battle with being black and accepting that she is a black beauty.

Read her full acceptance speech;

I wrote down this speech that I had no time to practice so this will be the practicing session.

Thank you Alfre, for such an amazing, amazing introduction and celebration of my work. And thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of such an extraordinary community.

I am surrounded by people who have inspired me, women in particular whose presence on screen made me feel a little more seen and heard and understood. That it is ESSENCE that holds this event celebrating our professional gains of the year is significant, a beauty magazine that recognizes the beauty that we not just possess but also produce.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, Black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “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.”

My heart bled a little when I read those words, I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before. I tried to negotiate with God, I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny.

Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But around me the preference for my skin prevailed, to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.

There is no shame in Black beauty.


  1. whocares

    February 28, 2014 at 12:25 pm


  2. Chiamaka Daisy

    February 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    This is the first time this chick would impress me. You can’t eat Beauty

  3. wanday

    February 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    What an inspiring speech. Lupita is the definition of beauty and brains

  4. Hurperyearmie

    February 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Am clapping wow!!!!!!!!!!! this is huge am black and beautiful jawe #eyesrolling

  5. Thatgidigirl

    February 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    “You can’t eat beauty” word!!!!

    • jcsgrl

      February 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      You know we Africans are very figurative and descriptive with our words. My mom used to say the same thing in Ibo. “A na ata mma ata”
      Lupi Lupi I love you even more


    February 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Such a deep and touching piece of speech from Lupita. People need to stop this nonsense of bleaching honestly, there is skin cancer for crying out loud! Why can’t people accept the way they were born? SMH

    • Tracy

      March 8, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      sadly, it’s the way this white-dominant society makes us think, that non-white people are not beautiful, that the already unattainable standards of beauty includes whiteness. It’s not the victims’ faults, it’s society’s fault. As well as the people who (both on purpose and inadvently) who uphold these toxic societal values.

  7. Bella

    February 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    God Bless you Lupita, you are truly a Godsend. You have cemented my love of you even more. Black is and has always been beautiful. God never makes a mistake.

  8. Modella

    February 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Wowwww,the pain is real…My God help us,I have no much to utter!

  9. Ibinabo

    February 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    There’s truly no shame in Black beauty!

    • ALL shades of black are beautiful

      February 28, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      While I agree with Lupita, I also have to say this. We Africans need to accept the fact that the black/negroid race has so many shades and we are all beautiful.
      You may not believe this, but lighter-skinned girls are also made to feel inferior because of their skin tone. So many times, you hear people say ‘she’s not fine jor, she’s just fair, her fair complexion is helping her’ or ‘she must be bleaching jor,
      We Africans esp Nigerians are too obsessed with complexion.
      Your God given complexion is part of your beauty!!! If Lupita or Alek Wek or even Oluchi was fair, they won’t be as beautiful, their dark-skin is part of what makes them beautiful.
      Same with the light-skinned sisters like Monalisa Chinda and Bianca Ojukwu, let’s not make them feel inferior or less african because of their complexions…..
      Black is beautiful, but black doesn’t mean only ebony, we have caramel, honey, mocha, latte, chocolate and we are all African, proud and beautiful

    • Sylvia

      February 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      Bless you

    • ms sexy

      February 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      i cant but say thank you for this
      your observation is d best

    • Esi

      March 1, 2014 at 1:23 am

      Amen to that!

    • Bella Noire

      March 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      You say: “…You may not believe this, but lighter-skinned girls are also made to feel inferior because of their skin tone. So many times, you hear people say ‘she’s not fine jor, she’s just fair, her fair complexion is helping her’ or ‘she must be bleaching jor…”

      But then you turn around and say: “… If Lupita or Alek Wek or even Oluchi was fair, they won’t be as beautiful, their dark-skin is part of what makes them beautiful…”

      Isn’t that a contradiction? You’re doing the same thing you’re indicting others for doing. How do you know they wouldn’t be as beautiful? Have you ever tried to create a human being? Let’s stop making statements like this. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, the way they were created. There is no prototype.

    • nadia_vivace

      March 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      I love your comment, but I want to add that it is not only us, Africans, let alone ‘only’ Nigerians. It is everywhere, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, US, India, China, Korea, Middle-East……sad

    • Ibinabo

      March 4, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Well said.. thanks for this note. Have a good day.

    • adebola

      February 28, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      but monalisa isnt beautiful. even if she was dark she wouldnt be beautiful. bianc on the other hand is a goddess!

  10. Sharon1

    February 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Team Lupita all the way….BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!

  11. Babygirl

    February 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    What an inspiration!!! thumbs up girl.

  12. Cocobutter

    February 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Definitely must read, “Black is Beautiful”, you go Lupita.

  13. poisefreak

    February 28, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I am dark skinned too, but I have never ever been ashamed of my complexion. I think the world places too much emphasis on being light skinned…. And Bella Naija, y’all wouldn’t be putting up Lupita’s pictures and claiming black is beautiful if she hadn’t been accorded as much recognition as she has gotten so far. Most of the pictures y’all put up have lightskinned girls in them, and now y’all want to claim you like dark skinned girls now ba? Love Lupita anyways, but y’all should drop the feigned admiration for her skin color, y’all are hypocrites.

    • Proud village woman

      February 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      I agree with you that even bellanaija participates in shadeism. They are hyping this sister because white people are now celebrating their “exotic” little chocolate. It is sad that many of us only feel human and validated when non blacks look at us twice. We need serious deconstructing, break away from the chains of colonial mentality .


      February 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      BellaNaija celebrates African women of all shades and colours. We pride ourselves with this. Yes some African women are very dark, some are very light and everything in between. All African women are beautiful! Being very dark is not better than being very light and vice versa.
      Please provide evidence of this supposed “shadeism” .
      Just looking through the articles on BN in the last 24 hours, we have featured women of every conceivable shade – Dakore and Beverly who are brown skinned, Nneka who is mixed race, our beautiful BN bride Berry and Lupita who are dark skinned.

      BTW, BellaNaija featured Lupita months before the Hollywood hype started as well.

      Please let us know. We appreciate constructive feedback.


    • AA

      February 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      LOLOL!!! Girl, BN have replied you sharply!!

    • Father Abraham

      March 2, 2014 at 3:27 am

      Sorry BN, its not hard to tell. You guilty as charged! Do I really blame you-NO, I don’t think you know better. As #poisefreak said, without the accolades dark chocolate is not your preferred choice of toned delight.

      Truthfully, the tone hypocrisy is an African virus eating the esteem of our women at our expense profiting billions for foreigners….simple because we (BN inclusive) have not accepted ourselves as beautiful just the way we are!

      Men haven’t helped matters either…their hung up on tasting a bit of vanilla will not let our women rest on thinking they are tone-adequate! To that extent mixed race will always receive preferential treatment!

      Until media and people alike begin to present a different type of beauty -affirmed by the elite (approval standards)….change is far and many more billions to be made from the toning industry!!!

      ADVICE: never fail to tell your chocolate daughters how immensely beautiful they are!!! We’ll just have to save them, one little chocolate at a time!!!!!

    • J

      March 2, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      BN people are taking their ignorance and lack of attention to detail to respond using their emotions and preconceived ideas.
      am shocked at the rate the media is playing with Lupita and Deneica.
      Fortunately I read BN detail report of Lupita speech beforehand. Within hours I was shocked at how other media outlets played with words like Chinese whispers Deneca has fallen for it.
      I just hope these sisters look at the brighter side and milk on the publicity ignore the negative and you guys walk in peace together.
      I support BN as supporting women of all color which I had noticed. You celebrate women and when even reporting a sad event you report with no shade comments.
      I had applauded you some weeks back because I had notice a lot of comments where by the commentators urged BN to report on something that was degrading. That gave me respect for BN for their solidarity for not indulging in that article.

  14. Ugomma Ukam

    February 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    WOW, this piece is so real and inspiring…….”you can’t eat beauty”
    away with the insecurities, i’m embracing ME JUST THE WAY I AM”

  15. powerful words!

    February 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    i am black and i’ve never been ashamed of it!i do remember someone i used to date tell me to tone up….God knows it entered one ear and went out in the other ear.just learn to appreciate yourself and nothing anyone says to you will affect you.

  16. Truth

    February 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Beautiful woman, beautiful speech x

  17. blackbeauty

    February 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    and there was no dry tear in that luncheon as i’ve read in the internet…. I love you Lupita…you are a blessing to many!!!

    • blackbeauty

      February 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      dry eye…….

  18. towknee

    February 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    lupita nyong’o you really inspire me!!!

  19. Mz Socially Awkward...

    February 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I’ve always been enthralled by the liquid black gorgeousness of Alek Wek and that’s probably why I absolutely love Lupita’s confidence about owning her looks. Preach to dem young women, sista, preach!!

  20. shine

    February 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I love, I love and I love…..appreciated her right from d ist day I watched her in “12yrs a slave”…..Greater heights for u I pray and God bless u 4 inspiring black girls like me who havent for one day toned

  21. tammy

    February 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm


  22. Narnia

    February 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    The darker the berry the sweeter the juice


    February 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Lovely speech Lupita. People should realise that skin tone is sometimes overrated and what matters most is your success and achievements. People are admiring Lupita’s colour cos she’s successful in her career, there is a level of success where your skin tone, nationality and background does not matter anymore. People should strive for that instead.

  24. oaa

    February 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Good One Lupita!…. I still have Lupita Fever. My Physician says its healthy tho’…lol

    Dencia Oh Dencia… You’ve become popular overnight… Lucky you… No Advertorial Charges!

  25. sηººÞ¬mιηι

    February 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    black iz beauty but am fair nd am stil handsum

  26. BrownSugah

    February 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    The pressure of toning up, lightening up and “bleaching” which is seldom used in this part of the world is too much!!!!!!! Thank God we now have someone who is adequately representing “dark skinned people” at the top of the list in Hollywood! The temptation to “brighten up” just a bit have made people go over board and end up not looking like themselves when you see their old pictures. The pressure to be fashionable and more “chick” have made all Lagos girls look like Sisters…..LOL!
    Ride on Lupita! We need you to be a model for the youths! Thanks!

  27. flyhijabi

    February 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Most young girls need to learn this about beauty. You’re beautiful in your own way,don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise and the adults around children have the responsibility of instilling that self acceptance in them. While in primary school, I had a lot of ‘yellow pawpaw’ classmates and they were so pretty. One day,our teacher a Ghanaian man asked who was the most beautiful in the class and every one started mentioning names of fair girls. Then he made a statement that made me look more at my black self and realize the type of beauty I represent. He said; The whole of west Africa,Mariam is the most beautiful girl I’ve seen’. Of course I was stunned and shy because I was black though not as black as Lupita and I didn’t have a pointed oyinbo nose and big eyes. Later came Oluchi and boy,did my confidence grow? I grew up appreciating beauty in every form and sometimes when I call someone beautiful,my friends will ask if I’m blind. Beauty is in all forms:Asian,African,European,Latino n all. God don’t make no mistakes.

  28. @edDREAMZ

    February 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Ok am loving this one….

  29. Annie

    February 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Power speech- Lupita is GREAT indeed. This speech is however a double edged sword…. one one hand it encourages black women to embrace their color/identity…BUT on the other hand it also un-intentionally promotes skin bleaching. I’m a digital analyst and I can tell you that the mere mention of “Denicia’s Whitenecious” in this speech has sky rocketed the web search for the words Denicia and Whitenicious which will in turn result in massive sales, and ultimately more women lightening their skin color… hmm…

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Good point Annie.

    • Nneks

      February 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Lol I get your point….Great speech Lupita

    • lilz

      February 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      on the contrary, i think it will make people not want to buy it.

    • Xtsy

      February 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Na d whitenicious free advert pain me pass

    • TA

      March 1, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      My sister,Nah the only thing Wey pain me for body be DAT!

    • fashionista

      March 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Lool, i feel you!

    • Ilamosi

      March 5, 2014 at 2:38 am

      Lmao… are so on point with your comment.

  30. stella

    February 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Go Lupita we love you… no wonder Dencia claimed she doesnt know you lol

  31. amakadon

    February 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    As much as it won’t change d dedicated and aspiring bleachers, d fact is one must learn to be satisfied d way God made them. Even with your dark or light complexion, your talent sparkles.

  32. Toe

    February 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Nice one. Real beauty comes from within and blossom on the outside.

  33. TheresaO

    February 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I had to shout “halleluyah” at this profound yet simple statement, “you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.”

    I hope many young ladies realize that there is more to being beautiful than external looks. Quit allowing others pressure you into spending loads to look beautiful. True beauty comes from within. Thanks Lupita for reminding us of the needful. You are not only beautiful, you are so wise! God bless your mom for celebrating you even before the world did.

  34. Inebaby

    February 28, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Well said dear Lupita! A Great Speech, thanks…

  35. Mrs Nwosu

    February 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    @Annie me think even if she didnt mentioned whitenicious women who are obssessed with bleaching will still bleach o.

  36. TheTruth13

    February 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Lupita you are BEAUTIFUL! Your colour glows, such a lovely, smooth shade. We do not mind those narrow shallow minded people. As your mother said, you cannot eat beauty, it can only take you so far but it’s what’s inside that counts.

  37. ifeoma nwawe

    February 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Lupita!!!!! I love you… My fav part of the speech was: I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

  38. Roza

    February 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Berry is dark skin!! Whao you could have fooled me.Her wedding pixs show her darker but by all means that is not dark skin.if that is dark skin classification then alex and lupita are charcoal.Anyways my point is it dosent matter what your skin color/shade is just be a good person and treat others well.We did not make ourselves

  39. Wale

    February 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Her beauty is her dark skin and small facial features. Imagine her fairer and she will be ugly and weird looking. It is like Naomi, if Naomi had bleached she would have lost her natural beauty. Fair complexion just isn’t for everybody. BN – I think the ladies above meant that majority of your stock photos are of light complexioned women-which is true. And yes, you do feature a good mix of different women of color in your celebrity profiles. But we still love you though, it is just an observation.


      February 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks Wale!
      We are always happy to get feedback but will also clarify when we disagree.
      Just looked through the last 6 stock images used on BN – there were 3 brown skin women and 3 lighter women. We genuinely make an effort to represent the diversity of our African men and women and we will continue to do so!

      Thanks so much and keep visiting BN 🙂

    • Nanciejul

      March 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      @BN stop defending yourself and accept the feedback, you need to have a proper team to handle your responses. I have a feeling its an intern……just saying.

    • Oyinkan

      March 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      So that’s 50/50. Does that adequately represent Nigerian women? 50% of my relatives are not light-skinned, in fact none are. We range from medium to dark.

  40. Mrs Nwosu

    February 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    @Annie women who are obssessed with bleachingg with or without the mention of whitenicious. Lupita awe inspiring speech touched home, like how many young girls, havent negotiated with God. Actually my negotiation was for Him to make me black or brown like my sisters as i thought i was odd and a plain jane. But of course God always knows best. Am still fair o and beautiful too.

  41. Meanwhile...

    February 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    See Dencia getting international recognition oh! She’s suddenly become relevant!

  42. Lauretta

    February 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Dis speech is wow!!!

  43. Oyin

    February 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I love this speech. But, I also don’t like how Africans, Nigerians follow the West like how a baby follows her mother. When the west says yes, they say yes too. I’m quite disappointed that Africa, of all places where 90% are dark skin are suffering from such inferiority complex. Nigeria, that is suppose to be example are the leading in skin bleaching and weave/wigs wearing. I mean, y can wear it once in a while but most Nigerian have fake hair stapled on their head. I admir Lupita but tired of turning her into a sensationalism topic. So, it’s now that white Hollywood is praising her, it’s confirmed dark skin is beautiful? Nigeria, had a LONG way to go. We have to learn to stand confident on our own.

    • Author Unknown

      March 1, 2014 at 3:41 am

      You’ve said it all Oyin. I agree with you 100%. See black Africans talking like African-Americans with colourism problems. Too much Oprah and Iyanla. Do we have social biases along colour lines? Yes. More so with biracial kids, and not regular light skinned Nigerians with full African features. When Afro-Americans talk about light skin privilege, they are referring to mixed race blacks, not Nigerian yallow paw paw, and they have a history behind it.

  44. Oyin

    February 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I love this speech. But, I also don’t like how Africans, Nigerians follow the West like how a baby follows her mother. When the west says yes, they say yes too. I’m quite disappointed that Africa, of all places where 90% are dark skin are suffering from such inferiority complex. Nigeria, that is suppose to be example are the leading in skin bleaching and weave/wigs wearing. I mean, y can wear it once in a while but most Nigerian have fake hair stapled on their head. I admir Lupita but tired of turning her into a sensationalism topic. So, it’s now that white Hollywood is praising her, it’s confirmed dark skin is beautiful? Nigeria, had a LONG way to go. We have to learn to stand confident on our own. And it’s on the same Bella naija site that the “whitenecious” Dencia foolery is given a platform and promoted. Her name should not even be mentioned for any publicity

  45. Funmy Kemmy

    February 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Black is beautiful indeed. Thumbs up for her.

  46. lee

    February 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    lovely piece.. goodness me… am still in awe…

  47. Bukky

    February 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    We go so hard on people that bleach and are quick to call them self hating women, but what about weave wearing?As far as I am concerned, It is also a form of self rejection to think we need Caucasian hair to look beautiful. Let us learn to embrace our beauty in it’s entirety!

    • bNigerian

      February 28, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      In the same vein, let us also let people make their ow choices as they deem fit, no matter how much we agree or disagree with said choices. Live and let live.

      Go Lupi!

    • bNigerian

      February 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      Pardon me, I meant to type “own”, not “ow”. Thanks.

    • Valerie

      February 28, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Not all people fix weaves for the same reasons. Fixing weave is a type of protective hairstyle, same as braiding. It just so happens that the most durable weaves tend to be human hair like Brazilian and co. However, I don’t dispute your point, some women wear weaves due to low self esteem/ self hate, but not all women do.

  48. ivie

    February 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Very inspiring speech…. We all should be comfortable in our skins.! Inner Beauty is what counts and lasts… BN great Job well done! 🙂

  49. Bide

    February 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Amen Sis..Amen…

  50. kiki

    February 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    na wa oh…. i think i should vex self. ahn ahn…. what is it? it seems my own complexion is the 1 thats becoming irrelevant. like my boyfrnd actually told me yday “im chocolate in complexion” so im askin now… while d bleachers and mixed racers are white, and lupioto is leading a band wagon of “the emancipation of the mid-night skin color”, where do people like me end up?

  51. nene

    February 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    my body was literally shaking as i read this. i tell this to my cousin every time. she is very dark and being igbo (i hate to generalise) when you are darker than genevieve nnaji, you are dark. now my cousin is like mercy johnson dark and everyone tells her she looks yoruba (please no offence to yorubas) and she hates it. and i tell her that it doesn’t matter, facial features ( i think yorubas tend to have better noses and lips compared to igbos) triumph skin tone and she will find someone who will love her. i think parents and family need to impact confidence in their kids, because most of the self hate starts from teasing at home, before the child goes to school and picks up insecurities. my cousin has started bleaching and it is not a good look, but i hope one days she can find the confidence to be herself and accept her skin tone. lupita is stunning, but i still don’t get alek wek.

    • oyin

      February 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Its simply ignorance. When Nigerians talk about oh, u look igbo bcos u are light and Yoruba bcos you are dark. Its stupid. Igbo people think they look better bcos of many of them being lighter skin., and the darker ones seem to be so insecure. People have serious issues to feel sorry for them but for being dark? Its absolutely nonsense. Tell your cousin to stop being stupid. She knows Nigerian men marry dark skin women all the time bcos if you are beautiful, you are doesnt matter skin color. Most Nigerian men look for women who can cook and shes responsible. So tired of this foolish topic

    • Pd

      March 1, 2014 at 2:53 am

      People think am igbo…..and am darkskinned! Even when i walk down the street either in idumota or peckham…i hear ngozi or nneka …. And i love it despite the fact i be serious ibadan girl! I love igbo boys too… please let dont bring up the ethincity card ….we are all one!

    • Bella Noire

      March 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      “I think yorubas tend to have better noses and lips compared to igbos…” Huh? What does that even mean? And I’m Yoruba! Stop making these statements! Everybody is a-okay! Oluwa saanu wa o. God must so despair at us humans.

  52. nene

    February 28, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    i think lupita nyong’o might be starting something, perhaps a trend. i see a future where people will begin to appreciate dark skinned woman again. i am happy about this. THERE IS NO SHAME IN BLACK BEAUTY should be everyone’s mantra from now!

  53. Mo

    February 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Naija people can’t just admire, leave one sentence comment and leave, they must write one page essay. How would you think that Bella naija will only put up articles because the people in them are fair skinned? Na wa o

  54. lookatmenowlookatyou

    February 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Appplause to Lulu….Dencia is just throwing shade at Lulu…by saying she don’t know her… Oprah,Cate. B, A.Jolie,George Clooney know her….i feel sorry for Dencia for displaying her ignorance…Dencia can take several seats….!!!!

  55. Cool cat

    February 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    My lupita baby wins again, oluwalupitalomo. Can’t get enough of this girl. Thank goodness people are now seeing the brains and not just the hype she’s been getting. True African woman, worthy inspiration. Even from a rich home she had insecurities but she did not let that deter her.

    • s.t

      March 4, 2014 at 6:00 am

      lmfao @ oluwalupitalomo hahahahahahahaha…naijerians ha!

    • tee tee

      April 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Listen i already named her as nigerian too. Abeg don’t gerrit twisted! Lol. Naija style #claimam. I love this woman something bad!

  56. reni

    February 28, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I have an aunt who would say my younger brother was the finest of my siblings. It just donned on me this year that when my aunt last saw all my siblings and I together my “finest” brother was the lightest of us all. I only made the connection that my aunt consider lighter = more beautiful when accepted that my aunt has been trying to lighten her skin unsuccessfully for many year, her excuse was that she did not have glowing dark skin #bullshit.

  57. Voila

    February 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I celebrate Lupita, not because of her skin colour or how she wears her hair, but for being a ” breath of fresh air”. Listen to her interviews, the way she carries herself, her intelligence. To wear your natural hair and skin on the world stage takes a lot of guts. Kuos Lupita!

  58. oaa

    February 28, 2014 at 10:38 pm


  59. SOLO ACT

    February 28, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    bella naija is totally guilty of this tho. if u go on articles of darker women they seem to approve more insulting comments, but u dear not say princess EKU is not fashionable oo. it would take them 2weeks to approve your comment

  60. BA

    March 1, 2014 at 12:13 am

    This idea of Black Beauty in itself is faulty. Beauty is in every shade of colour. The underlying meaning of the word BLACK to mean bad, evil, concealing dirt etc is what fuels this black beauty thing. I watched a video posted on Facebook of an experiment where children were asked to choose which doll they thought was evil or bad – a light skinned doll and a dark skinned doll. All the children about 20 of them, but one chose the dark skinned doll. The dolls were not labelled – good or bad but the dark skinned one was singled out to be bad, evil, dull, mischevious etc. Again, the underlying meaning of the word BLACK itself is the culprit here.

    I think of this black and white issue as day and night. Things can be terrifying and beautiful at any of these times but the night time has it worse than the day. Black is beautiful just like every shade of colour but I take it that we are evolving as a race- the human race. This celebration of dark skin at this time is very welcome. For someone who is as dark as night like Lupita but was lucky to be born in a home where I was celebrated for my skintone, even with cousins as light skinned as Bianca, I find it hard to tolerate any sort of skin inferiority complex. Here’s to all of us being comfortable in our skins, and evolving so much that this idea of black beauty, skin bleaching, racism and other related issues are put behind us.

    Lupita, you were born for such a time as this. Preach preacher, preach Queen!

  61. clementine

    March 1, 2014 at 3:46 am

    I admire her so much.Her intellect is intact and a very deep person.She is also very Lucky.Way back even before Shuga Nairobi she made this beautiful documentary about Albino as a school project.I knew she would address the skin color issue with all the attention she is getting and I was not wrong.Bless her.Next it will be the hair.I tire for brazilian/Peruvian/India/ Mamiwater weave.-Team Natural

  62. clementine

    March 1, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Bellanaija do beta research on this girl’s life.She is indeed a role model.I BEEN DON TIRE OF ALL YOUR ARTICLES ABOUT HER IS BEING ON THE RED CARPET.She is a rare gem.I don comot.Love me some Genny too.

  63. BeautyBuzzDaily

    March 1, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Great reply BellaNaija and Ba! Lupita’s speech was really moving and she’s a real inspiration for beauty beyond skin tone. She ‘s brought up right by a wise mother. So happy for her win 🙂

  64. Stranger

    March 1, 2014 at 10:56 am

    WOW! This speech gave me goosebumps.
    No truer words…

  65. Hauwa Saidu Mohammed

    March 1, 2014 at 11:29 am

    my dear dencia, did you not receive an email titled, “REQUEST FOR WHITENICIOUS”??? i asked you where do u make and ship the product from and u said america. I told u im in istanbul and u said u can ship the product to istanbul? So my dear, Lupita did not make the story up. I realy do exist.
    And u can google contact lupita nyongo if u really want to know how i got access to her. I didnt even think she would read my letter talkless of have such an impact on her and being coated everywhere.

    • tee tee

      April 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Oh wow! That’s deep. I’m glad she spoke of it and that this has helped (i hope) in some way to seeing your entire majesty. Sending hugs from a cool day in London town xoxo

  66. Boma

    March 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Pls HELP any1…I have these fat and oil residue on my face the type dats whitish kind off and recently it has become very obvious even when I rub powder it still shows,what can I do 2 get rid of it,I try 2 press it out but it doesn’t work. and I use apricot scrub but its almost useless,I need its to go.

    • missNk

      March 2, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      steam your face and wash it any facial wash that contains tea tree oil. Steaming works well because it opens the pores.

  67. bibilicious

    March 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I see nothing wrong with hair weaves. Cor me its far cheaper than carrying my natural hair, i rather braid or fix n since braiding takes more time and more money,i rather fix. So with two or 3 expensive weaves,i just keep fixing them n treating the hair. Ive tried goin natural and it was soo much stress coupled with waking up early to work and lagos wahala. Abeggy, me looooovveee my weaves God bless whoever invented weavon and relaxer.

  68. bibilicious

    March 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    *relaxer i mean

  69. Black Jesuscom

    March 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Her pain as a dark skin Black women
    is shared by girls and women all over the
    world who have been excluded
    from the pedestals of beauty. God has made a world
    of colorful plants, animals and people, but there are
    those who have intentionally limited only one definition
    of human beauty to be exalted and displayed.
    It is this same exclusionary mindset that
    continues to deny and overlook the biblical, scientific
    and geographic facts that Jesus too was a dark
    skin man of color. The Truth Will Set Us Free!

  70. Divad

    March 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Be comfortable in your own skin, God made is all beautiful, We were made in the image and likeness of our Creator… And he made us all Beautiful, choosing to alter the
    masterpiece of God is like laughing at he’s creativity and ingenuity….be proud of who God created you to be.

  71. msroseblossom

    March 1, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Lupita is truly a blossoming beauty, and on point that beauty is from the soul – to be beautiful. My essay “brighter days for African beauty” in Hair Power Skin Revolution anthology 2010 is in effect, hopefully she inspires thousands to be black and proud…..

  72. trace

    March 1, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    i also love the way she is made up. her eye brows are not shaped in the new way that looks so fake. colours to accentuate her. our makeup artist should also tone down on the colours they use on d dark skinned girl. beauty no b food. well said girl

  73. kenny

    March 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    @Bellnaija. I like the way you guys handle criticism with grace and not the other way round. Keep up the good work.

  74. kenny

    March 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    In my own opinion, i think people who look at themselves as less of a being bc of the color of their skin, is not their fault its the demon spirit that is associated with low self esteem that’s what is operating in them. I’m black who exist in the midst of people from different background right from ages, i never never felt that way rather, my shoulders are up so high like they want to fall off, if you guys understand what i mean lol…. May God cast that demon from this world.

  75. Merciful1

    March 2, 2014 at 3:46 am

    OMG Beauty and brains. How old can Lupita be? I thought she is 18 but this speech is too mature for an 18years old couple with all the confidence she carries about. Can someone please clear my doubt. Thx BN family members

    • TA

      March 2, 2014 at 7:07 am

      @ Merciful 1,Lupita is 31 o! She was born in 1985. Can’t blame you for thinking she is that young,that’s what having smooth and beautiful skin does for you. I hope the bleachers are taking notes.

    • Zara

      March 2, 2014 at 8:28 am

      How can she be 31 and be born in 1985? She was born in 1983!

  76. Keji

    March 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    God bless you Lupita. Keep shinning…….

  77. Laura

    March 2, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve always thought that very dark skin is beautiful. While I was aware of white privilege in general, I had no idea until a few years ago that anyone as stunningly beautiful as Lupita could possibly want to look any different. I’m very saddened to hear that someone so lovely could ever be disappointed looking in the mirror. Thanks for such an informative article.


    March 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks so very much Lupita for inspiring billions of girls all over the world – Indeed, there is no shame in black beauty

  79. hely

    March 4, 2014 at 5:01 am

    Being black is always political and exhuasting. A white woman can skin tan, get a butt implant, lip injections and no one gets emotional. Once a black woman change something the emotions run high. Africans Stick to biz and less sentiments cuz thats how the white man built his empire which we all kill to be apart of.

  80. BA

    March 4, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I wonder if anyone who found the last transcribed line awkward – “there is no shame on black beauty”
    Dear BN, she said “…there is no shade in this beauty” referring to being beautiful inside. Please listen again and correct the statement. Thank you.

    • BA

      March 4, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Correction: no shame IN black beauty.

  81. Naija Brit

    March 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Amen, sister!

  82. Tobi Akiode

    March 15, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Nice post!

  83. Tobi Akiode

    March 15, 2014 at 4:07 am

    nice post at

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