Lupita Nyong'o's skin is so damn poppin' that Beyonce wrote a whole song about it. And while from the sidelines, we can't help but marvel at her melanin, she's been transparent about the fact that her pretty brown skin has been a source of both struggle and strength for her. Sometimes our biggest blessings can feel like our biggest burdens and this has been especially true for Lupita since childhood, and her latest book tackles this topic head-on.
The Black Panther actress recently debuted her first children's book, Sulwe, which mirrors her journey to self-acceptance through a little girl who's deepest desire is to have lighter skin. Lupita recently sat down with NPR to share more about her latest project and revealed that her beautiful brown-skinned complexion rarely offered her a sense of pride:
"I had a younger sister who was born, and she was very light-skinned. With that came the cooing and the cawing and her being called pretty. And just - there was a obvious preference for her skin color. So that was the first time that I started to feel unrelated to the word 'beauty'."
Lupita said that although she was always loved and adored by her family, she didn't always receive that same energy from the outside world. Lupita shared that in the past while attending a Catholic private school, an authority figure shared an unwarranted and disparaging comment that the entertainer remembers to this day:
"Well, I went to an all-girls Catholic school for the first six years of my life. And when I was in the second grade in that Catholic school, one of my teachers said to me, 'how are you ever going to find a husband? Your husband's supposed to be darker than you.' And so these things were happening, you know, these things. And people don't recognize what they are doing when they say these kinds of things. You're just perpetuating things that you've heard, and you think they're harmless. But they actually do - they are quite harmful and damning to a little girl in a world where there's very few reminders that she is valuable just the way she is."
The actress shared that because she and her sister have always shared an unbreakable connection, she now understands that colorism isn't inherent, it's taught and it's a concept that needs to unlearned ASAP.
"Colorism is the daughter of racism. But sometimes it seems like racism has had amnesia. You know? And so that's why I wrote this - to hopefully bring it to the fore and people can address it."
Sulwe is now available for purchase on Amazon!
You can read Lupita's full interview here!
Featured image by Instagram/@lupitanyongo.