Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has voiced concerns that the issue of colorism does not seem to get enough attention among black peoples.
The “Us” and “12 Years A Slave” star took to Twitter at the end of September to remind her over 1.6 million followers that colorism is not “just a prejudice reserved for places with a largely white population”.
Nyong’o noted that in her native Kenya, there is an explicit preference for people with lighter shades even in the overwhelmingly black-skinned country.
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For some Kenyans, the actress tweeted, “lighter is brighter”.
Nyong’o is an outspoken voice on issues of racism and colorism. Since her breakout appearance in 2013’s “12 Years A Slave”, she has used her platform to channel the movement aimed at collapsing racial prejudice.
Often, she draws on her experiences as a young black woman in spaces with people who do not look like her. Nyong’o went to the United States from Kenya although she was born in Mexico where she lived for a number of years.
She tweeted that as a little child, the books she read were windows into the “lives of people who looked nothing like me.”
The thread of tweets were aimed at introducing the public to her upcoming book, Sulwe, which comes out on October 15. Nyong’o hoped her book will be a mirror for young girls like she was.
“While windows help us develop empathy and understanding of the wider world, mirrors help us develop our sense of self, and our own understanding of the world,” the Oscar-winning actress tweeted.
In 2014 during an interview with Glamour magazine, Nyong’o said that European standards of beauty “plague the entire world.”
She also took issue with Grazia UK, a fashion and lifestyle magazine who in 2017, edited photos she took for them so as in Nyong’o’s view, to make “her fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like.”