Dark enough (Don’t we all love Lupita Nyong’o?)

Every time I see this woman on the screen, she gets more and more gorgeous…

Lupita Nyong’o is out and everyone is loving her! Having watched 12 years a slave and seen her fashion sense, it would be hard not to fall in love. She seems to be a woman worthy of the love she is receiving. And she probably is…so what’s problem?

I have different opinions about Lupita’s time in the spotlight and I will do my best to put them together coherently. As an African woman, I am proud to see Lupita on the screen. For me, my pride abounds because she is not just black (an identity I am still trying to make peace with), African American or African, born and raised in America. She is African, born in Mexico but raised in Kenya, did college in America. In fact, Lupita IS me (except for the Mexico part lol), and the excitement of that is triple fold.

But what are the few things that worry me about Lupita’s new found celebrity status?

Lupita tells an ignorant America and the rest of the world that many of her do not exist. And not in terms of talent, but in terms of the beauty she displays as an African woman, her dark skin and short kinky hair. But these women do exist! I grew up with them and in fact, I once rocked that short hair for six years in boarding school! Granted, mine was not a choice like Lupita’s fashionable hairdo, and I probably did not pull it off as good as she does. But, it is important for us to remind people, Americans and any others that this kind of beauty has always been around and it’s here to stay.

My other point surrounding this issue is more of a fear. Nigeria as a country and, from my experience, Africa as a continent is one that has been exalted very much on beauty being determined in extremes. For instance, to the West we are never really beautiful with our jagged landscapes and bustling urban city centers that may boast of hawkers for corn, chips etc. Because we can never be as “developed” as they are. ย Rather, we are beautiful and exotic for our roaring lions and breathtaking safaris. In this same manner, I see a trend being set for Africans being exalted for a beauty that is in extremes. Nowadays, you hear the phrases #teamlightskin and so on coming from Nigerians. We think being fairer is being more beautiful, and Lupita’s image combats that. BUT, what her image does to the outside world looking in is another story. Lupita’s blackness, darkness, whichever you choose to call it seems to slowly threaten Africans as the new standard of beauty for us.

Now, to be truly beautiful, you have to revel in your complete “Africanness” for Americans and sometimes others. Don’t be in between, be dark. Don’t wear weaves or braids, carry it kinky. No, I am not pulling these conclusions out of my behind. Recently, I got caught up on a new show: Africa’s Next Top Model, which is just the African version of America’s Next Top Model. Aside, from the fact that it’s disturbing to replace a country (America) with a continent (Africa), I noticed something else that ruffled my feathers.

In choosing the winner of the show, I noticed the judges’ inclination to choose women who look more and more like Alek Wek, Lupita and other dark skinned beauties. You see, the other in between or possibly lighter skinned women were just not the “right” kind of beauty that stood out in that sharp cutting “African” manner. This was my interpretation and people can feel free to disagree. The point I am trying to make is that Lupita is drop dead gorgeous but no, she is not the “real” or “proper” African in terms of beauty, and I hope the world does not place her beauty as the standard for all Africans. Because then, the rest of us are going to just be left in-between.



P.S: Gosh her fashion is on point though!


9 thoughts on “Dark enough (Don’t we all love Lupita Nyong’o?)

  1. OMGGGG! Deeee I was just thinking the same thing yesterday. I wrote about her 2 weeks ago but tucked it away…but I’m so happy you highlighted the glorification of extremes. It’s either you’re “too light” or “too dark”. The media or whoever sets this status doesn’t have room for the in-betweens. I detest the glorification of the extremities!
    But as you stated, she is SO beautiful! And her beauty radiates from inside out; the way it should be.
    Well, for those who are bleaching, she is a good reason to stop (good) but to the outsiders, the rest of Africa has to look like this for them to “accept” us (bad) Oh and I completely understand your being unsettled about that word “black”. That was in my post too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yay! I am glad we clicked on it. It’s something that I even noticed before I thought too much about Lupita and then I realized that the same thing was happening with her! Us in-betweeners are lost in translation. And yessss to bein unsettled about being black. Lord knows I am yet to wrap my head around it, what it means, and why its been given to me simply because i crossed the border into America, lol! Can’t wait to read your blog post too ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Yup. you’re right. I’m never going to wrap my head around being called “black”. It’s something we cannot remotely accept.
        I’m not sure I’ll post that up. I don’t feel that way anymore but we’ll see.

  2. Can y’all stop complaining about every fucking thing you privileged Nigierian fobs. All of a sudden the weave wearing , white girl emulating bitches wanna be considered beatiful

    1. Er mike is all well? Whatever anger or issues you have may God help you in Jesus name amen! ( Some people need to just breathe! sheesh!)

      Too everyone else may we all know we are beautiful end of.

      Have a nice day

  3. Hi ,
    I slightly disagree with the being too African part.

    I think rather than worry us Africans need to revel in our own beauty of all colours and shades. We should only add to the Lupita rather than worry about being too light .

    I am very light skinned Nigerian and have darker sisters. I think for too long we as a culture don’t fully appreciate ourselves the way we are. The light dark complex should not exist and I believe that will happen when everyone is comfortable in their own skin.

    I love that Lupita oozes this confidence and she is unapologetically her and flawless. I think it’s best to all focus on the positives and add to it . America does not need to tell us what is beautiful . I have a dream ( Martin Luthur King style ) that in my lifetime Africans set the trend period.
    But for now I am happy for the diversity from the norm in what is considered beautiful to the west .

    However I know that African women are gorgeous .. If and when they know it.

    I liked your article a lot.
    Love Lupita .
    Have a great day

  4. OH MY GOD! I cant believe i just discovered you. I love reading your blogs. LOLL I am not teh best with fashion but you add so much more perspective and color to your blogging and opinion articles. Mostly you speak from the heart. Don’t stop doing that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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