American-based Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has disclosed that winning the Oscar Award in 2014 made it easy for her to acquire a green card in the United States.
The queen of epic movies won an Oscar award that year for the best-supporting-actress after her Hollywood debut in the movie ‘12 Years A Slave’.
She had then struggled to establish herself in the U.S. as she did not have permanent residency. The award-winning actress was born in Mexico where she lived for almost a year before her parents moved to New York.
“The only way I could get a green card was by getting a permanent job or winning an international award. I remember when I moved to New York, after drama school, I didn’t have a bed frame, I just had a bed on the floor. I was speaking to my mother (Dorothy Nyong’o) and we were laughing at how maybe one year later I would be kicked out of the country,” Lupita said in an interview with Thanu Yakupitiyage and Rage Kidvai of the ‘Bad Brown Aunties’ podcast.
A Kenyan actress with a Mexican passport, living in America was tough but her mother gave her all the encouragement she needed to pursue the green card, she said.
The Yale University graduate and daughter of a politician currently making waves in Hollywood said she would continue to use her voice to tell the African story.
“We all have a hunger inside of us like a deep gaping hole that we try and feel when you tap into your passion, it feeds that hunger. For me its representation of Africa. I know the value of a story and difference a story makes. Its all about edifying and diversifying African perspectives. I didn’t grow up feeding African stories, I got American, Indian, Australian stories. My calling is therefore to expand African stories,” Nyong’o said.
The Us and Black Panther movie star, who was once told that her skin was too dark for a TV role in Kenya, said she will continue to reject job offers which did not amplify the African perspective.
The 36-year-old, in April, shared details on a new project that she had been working on and was so proud about. But while many expected it to be an announcement of yet a new movie, hearts were melted at the realization that it was a book for children.
Lupita, on the celebration of this year’s International Children’s Book Day, shared pictures of her children’s book, Sulwe, which she announced will be released later in October 2019.
Sulwe, which means Star in the Luo language, centres around Sulwe, a dark-skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure and awakens with a re-imagined sense of beauty as she comes to terms with her dark skin being the only dark skin in her family.
Being her first book, Lupita hopes to inspire young black children to appreciate and accept their uniqueness. Expected to be released on October 1, the book is currently available for pre-order and is already causing a positive stir among both her fans and literary fanatics.