12 Years A Slave star Lupita Nyong’o on racism in beauty: ‘Every day I woke up hoping my skin was a little lighter’

(Tropics Magazine / The Independent) – With all the post-awards interviews, that selfie and those endless headlines rolling out after the Oscars, there are a few Hollywood moments you’d be forgiven for overlooking.

00170264 bf709525a1e22ce2b1e9db63ed4aff22 arc495x324 w495 us1Like this speech on racism and the western perceptions of beauty, made by Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, who felt so underrepresented by the entertainment industry as a young girl of Kenyan descent growing up in Mexico City that she wished she “would wake up lighter skinned”.

Speaking as she accepted her award for Best Breakthrough Performance at the annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon – hosted by Essence magazine – she said: “I too remember a time when I would turn on the TV and only see 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 before I was in front of a mirror, because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced just the same disappointment at being just as dark as I had been the day before.


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