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“I want to create opportunities for other people of colour” Lupita Nyong’o takes Vogue to Kenya, speaks on why She’s Vocal about Race in Hollywood

BellaNaija.com

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Actress and stylestar Lupita Nyong’o invited USA Vogue to her family home and farm in Kenya for a captivating photoshoot.

She posed in a number of East African ensembles surrounded by family and townsfolk and was photographed by Mario Testino.

In her new movie, Queen of Katwe, Lupita Nyong’o brings her talent and brilliance to a story from East Africa. She also talks about why she wanted to make Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah, her reason for shaving her hair, how much she has evolved and more.

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Here’s what she had to share on the entire experience:

On how she began telling her story:
Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice, I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful.

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On growing up in Kenya:
We’d visit my grandparents, spend my vacations here; all the cousins would come from around the world to spend Christmas in the village,” says Lupita. Today she’s wearing a baby-blue halter dress and an udeng, an Indonesian headdress. “I saw them on the men and thought, That will work so well for me. It’s a little cultural appropriation,” she says, quite pleased.

My mother had dream charts and would say, ‘What do you want to dream short-term, long-term, mid-term?’ She really believed in dreaming out loud.

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On shaving her head at 19:
I wanted to know what my head looked like,” she exclaims. She was also tired of going to the salon. Relaxed hair has to be styled weekly. The process can burn your scalp, cause scabs and itching. It’s an ordeal. “My father doesn’t know this, but it was at his prompting. He was funding my hairdos, and at one point he said, ‘Ah, why don’t you just cut it all off?’ ” She took him up on it. For two weeks he was too busy to notice. One day at the table he did a double take. “Where’s your hair?” “You said I should cut it!”

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On her skin and setbacks in Hollywood:
The European sense of beauty affects us all, I came home from college in the early two-thousands and saw ads on TV with a girl who can’t get a job. She uses this product. She gets her skin lighter. She gets the job. The lording of lighter skin is a common thing growing up in Nairobi. Being called ‘black mamba.’ The slow burn of recognizing something else is better than you.

I’ve never had so many people call me beautiful until you showed up. I get called to auditions I never would have been called to before. And I know it’s because you exist. Alek Wek changed how dark people saw themselves. That I could do the same in a way for somebody somewhere is amazing. There is no point in getting your picture taken if it doesn’t move somebody, Right?

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On Creating opportunities for people of Colour:
There are certain cards that have been dealt me that I take on. I want to create opportunities for other people of colour because I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to do that. That is why Eclipsed and even Queen of Katwe are so important, to change the narrative, offer a new lens on African identity.

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Watch the experience here:

14 Comments

  1. Sitta Luvz

    September 15, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Such a brilliant beauty. I miss Africa, I miss home.

    • Tyarow

      September 15, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      You’re a beauty yourself and Africans should be proud of. Be a good ambassador of Africa wherever you’re.

    • Anonymous

      September 16, 2016 at 1:07 am

      you are gorgeous

  2. BC

    September 15, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    ‘Person of color’ I just cannot stand those words together. We have tribal identity. And we are African. Wetin be pessin of color? McGee. It confers onto you a history you just don’t share. We know who we are. Let’s please stop calling ourselves this.

    • Totos

      September 16, 2016 at 12:51 am

      Well then she is including people who aren’t African… like Latinos, Asians, Aboriginals etc

  3. Bey

    September 16, 2016 at 12:52 am

    Yesssss make them believe d more we all live in caves and mud huts.
    Can’t they ever feature modern day Africa, not always dis backwardness. We’ve seen enuf of Africa’s “Rich culture” abeg.

    • Dee

      September 16, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Speak for yourself. I haven’t seen enough of our rich culture.

  4. Marian

    September 16, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Chei! I love the join join of colors. Love the styling and her makeup. Best shoot she’s done in my opinion. The colors look great on her.

  5. Felinda

    September 16, 2016 at 3:41 am

    I love Lupita. She has such a great personality many in the entertainment industry (especially in nollywood) lack. She got the it factor (either you got the IT or you don’t you can’t buy it off the shelves no matter how hard you try.

    Why do you think Hollywood and rest of America fell in love instantly and her black peers in Hollywood who’d been waiting in line for years for a break were left asking and jealously hating behind closed doors and among themselves saying (in ebonite tone) “What she got I ain’t I got? The answer is personality and unmatched grace which she was gifted with to win hearts globally (loosers can sit on side lines and hate and call her over-rated all they want, she ain’t) .

    . She’s not pretentious, very humble(I love her interviews) , highly articulate and very confident in her skin. Excellent role model for young black african kids of today .

    All the noise makers should Watch and learn 🙂 you can be talented in voice or acting but having class and gracefulness about you cannot be bought as I stated, it’s not in some expensive runway latest fashion red bottom shoes and $800 weaves , it is taught from birth. Why do you think Beyonce got the IT factor yet her peers (Keyshia Cole, kmichelle, Brandy, Monica, Keri Hilson etc) who have a great voices too (if not better sometimes) can’t hold a candle to her success. Yes she got the it factor. She is very graceful, humble and etc. Feisty and Ghetto never win.

    Raise your daughters and sons right

    Lupita quote:. No matter where your from your dreams are valid

  6. Mama

    September 16, 2016 at 4:23 am

    Interesting to see that ugali is made the same way we make tuwo or semovita here, just that we make ours softer not as hard as I can see here.

  7. Ch

    September 16, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I just don’t understand the term “people of colour” and strongly disagree with those who use it. What makes it even more upsetting is someone referring to herself with that term and (whichever way I’ve tried to look at it and rationalise it), in a derogatory manner. The last time I checked, “white” is a colour so everyone here on earth can be categorised as people of colour.
    In another news, this is no beef or any other “ish” of such, I genuinely care. She needs to wear gel filled bras to enhance her chest, I just can’t find her breasts.

  8. Dee

    September 16, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Beautiful… she looks amazing.

  9. artklub

    September 16, 2016 at 9:32 am

    people who live in white space are referred to ( and sometimes refer to themselves) as people of color. that term only exists as a contrast to “whiteness” and only exists in white space. africans do not live in white space (officially anyway) and therefore do not need to refer to themselves as that. freedom comes from divorcing your self-concept from “whiteness” and standing independently from it, no matter what space you are in.

  10. Tosin

    September 16, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    amazing clothes and a BIG person wearing them. big soul, big heart, big brain, big love.

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