Lupita Nyong’o: ‘Society’s Preference For Lighter Skin Is Alive And Well’

Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”) says that society is obsessed with light skin color to the exclusion of those with darker skin.
In a series of tweets published on Monday, Nyong’o shared a photo of herself at age 5, noting that her feelings as a child motivated her to write a children’s picture book centered on a dark-skinned girl that focuses on “colorism.”
“I reflected on this little girl’s feelings and fantasies when I decided to write my children’s book, ‘Sulwe.’ With this book, I wanted to hold up a mirror for her. Here’s why,” her thread begins. “As a little girl reading, I had all of these windows into the lives of people who looked nothing like me, chances to look into their worlds, but I didn’t have any mirrors.
“While windows help us develop empathy and an understanding of the wider world, mirrors help us develop our sense of self, and our understanding of our own world. They ground us in our body and our experiences,” she continues. “‘Sulwe’ holds up a mirror for dark-skinned children especially, to see themselves reflected immediately, and it is a window for all the others to cherish peering into.”
Nyong’o goes on to say that society’s preference for lighter skin is “alive and well,” arguing that it persists even in places with black majority populations.
“Colorism, society’s preference for lighter skin, is alive and well,” she argues. “It’s not just a prejudice reserved for places with a largely white population. Throughout the world, even in Kenya, even today, there is a popular sentiment that lighter is brighter. I imagined what it would have been like for her to turn the pages of picture books and see more dark skin in a beautiful light. This book is my dream come true for kids like her today.”
This is 5-year-old me. I reflected on this little girl's feelings and fantasies when I decided to write my children's book, . With this book, I wanted to hold up a mirror for her. Here's why:
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As noted by HuffPost, the “Black Panther” actress has been outspoken about the issue of colorism throughout her fruitful career, which took a dramatic upward turn when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her powerful performance in “12 Years A Slave.” Speaking with Glamour in 2014, Nyong’o said that European standards of  beauty “plague the entire world.”

“European standards of beauty are something that plague the entire world — the idea that darker skin is not beautiful, that light skin is the key to success and love,” she said. “Africa is no exception. When I was in the second grade, one of my teachers said, ‘Where are you going to find a husband? How are you going to find someone darker than you?’ I was mortified. I remember seeing a commercial where a woman goes for an interview and doesn’t get the job. Then she puts a cream on her face to lighten her skin, and she gets the job! This is the message: that dark skin is unacceptable. I definitely wasn’t hearing this from my immediate family — my mother never said anything to that effect — but the voices from the television are usually much louder than the voices of your parents.”
Lupita Nyong’o: ‘Society’s Preference For Lighter Skin Is Alive And Well’ Lupita Nyong’o: ‘Society’s Preference For Lighter Skin Is Alive And Well’ Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:07 Rating: 5

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