Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Why Lupita is winning



A friend of mine said he just didn't get the Lupita Nyong'o hype. He's opinion was also echoed by my younger sister who also doesn't see what all the hype is about. Her words to me were along the lines of, 'but I've seen black girls way prettier than her...I'm prettier!'. I agreed. I see many beautiful women of all colours and Lupita is in no means an exceptional type of beauty. With that said, I am fully on board on the Lupita hype train.

When I heard her name floating about before seeing her I knew from the surname she must be African. Then I saw her. I won't lie the only thing she had managed to tick off from my expectation list was that she was indeed African but even still, I didn't expect her to look fully African. Let's be real, we can not escape the reality that there is an 'accepted face of blackness' that the media promotes particularly with women. I absolutely hate the tired light skin vs dark skin debate (trust me I do) but...it's real. Take a second to think of HUGE current black female pop stars...I bet they are undeniably fair skinned women. In the world of movies there's Halle Berry whom at one point was hailed as one of the most desirable black women; she starred in a biopic for legendary actress Dorothy Dandridge (also of mixed heritage). Oh and we can take it to a political level too with Obama and even Rosa Parks whom people actually think was the first black woman to refuse to give up her seat on the bus, erm nooooo.  My point is that black, or African descent more correctly speaking, is perceived as more acceptable or beautiful in the media the less 'African' it looks. So, reigning back in to my views on Lupita, this chica was centre of attention on every red carpet she graced and praised on every media outlet I came across all whilst looking very African to me. For real?! Let me also mention the hair...and lack of it. She has been rocking natural hurrr and it's not even long, its level one short. Most of the brown skinned women I see in the media have a common feature which is straightened hair with or without the aid of extensions/weaves. Lupita is not only very pigmented, she is also not trying to westernise her appearance with a 30-inch peruvian weave or the other thing women are doing nowadays - face contouring. To top it up nicely, the way she's presented and speaks just exudes a well cultivated elegance and intelligence. She has been elevated into stardom almost overnight and this is not Nollywood, its Hollywood! Yo, ish like this doesn't occur everyday in Hollywood, Lupita is winning! With all that said, I don't believe we should lean towards the media for affirmation of our beauty and validation but I know people do, more particularly young people and so its nice to see some balance.


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