Everyone’s talking about her. You know who I mean … yes, it’s Lupita Nyong’o, who recently won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in the film: “12 Years a Slave”.
I am yet to see the movie but what I have seen are lots of images with Lupita in various flowing evening gowns and super-fab dresses. The few articles I read confirmed that she was not only beautiful but also talented, super intelligent and oh wait, she’s not only African-American; she is African-American with very very dark skin … oh … ok.
Now I get it. And I really do, because Lupita has successfully broken through the stereo-typing barrier which subtly exists, not only in Hollywood but for many of us all over the world. Yes, no-one wants to be openly considered racist (or so they say) yet more than one situation continues to surface under our global spotlight as a result of some innocent person or group becoming a target for a hate crime – all because of the colour of their skin.
When my son was little he would tell people my skin was brown, his father’s was yellow and that’s why his skin was orange. A little overly simplistic but through the eyes of a child, the colour of one’s skin clearly doesn’t matter. Who cared if someone was brown, yellow, orange, pale pink or God forbid … black? Isn’t what matters most what is in our hearts i.e. our love and compassion for others while consciously acknowledging the difference between right and wrong? Maybe, maybe not, but I digress because I really want to share what I learnt about Lupita rather than discuss the touchy subject of race relations.
After reading a few articles I realised this young woman was more than just another actress with a pretty face albeit of silky smooth velvet. She believed in God, loved her family and trusted that somewhere on her journey she would be successful beyond anything she could imagine. She had faith that kept her hoping even when it looked hopeless.
Best of all I learnt that Lupita has a heart, and her heart beats loudly for other girls like herself as noted from her own words: “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.”
An amazing woman indeed, dwelling under an amazing skin. My wish for Lupita? That she will continue to be a bright light shining for other girls with dark skin who have a dream and manage to hold on until it becomes a reality for many more years to come.
You can learn a little more about Lupita and her heart by watching this short video of her acceptance speech at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. During this event she was awarded for Best Breakthrough Performance for her work in 12 Years a Slave. Click here to view.