Lupita Nyong’o has revealed in a new interview with BBC Newsnight about how she was a “victim of colourism” as a child and she wished to have a different skin.
The Oscar-winning actress, who has starred in blockbuster Hollywood movies such as Black Panther, Queen of Katwe, 12 Years a Slave, among others, was raised in Kenya before moving to the United States.
She spoke with BBC Newsnight ahead of the release of her children’s book, Sulwe, about a girl with darker skin than her family.
Lupita told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis: “I definitely grew up feeling uncomfortable with my skin colour because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin.”
She said her younger sister, whose skin was lighter, was called “beautiful” and “pretty”.
She said colourism was “very much linked to racism” despite the fact she experienced it in a predominantly black society like Kenya.
The actor said she was once told at an audition that she was “too dark” for television.
She said that changed when she moved to the US, “because suddenly the term black was being ascribed to me and it meant certain things that I was not accustomed to.”
Colourism is prejudice against people who have a darker skin tone or the preferential treatment of those who are of the same race but lighter-skinned.
Watch her interview below: