Lupita speaks of battle with colourism as US marks Black History month

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o. [Photo: The Guardian]

Just as Black history is celebrated in February, Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o has spoken of colourism in the 21st century.

Lupita in a recent Instagram Live session said that her latest publication “Sulwe” was inspired by the hardships she was subjected to due to her colour.

She recalled numerous instances when she would be teased just because she is a person of colour.

“That is why I wrote it (Sulwe). When I was growing up, I got teased for my skin but I also had a sister who was born after me and her skin was lighter than mine,” said the Oscar award-winning actress.

Speaking of Sulwe’s contents, a children’s book which she launched recently, she could not understand why black people were not considered beautiful.

Later in life, she realized that black is beautiful and she wanted to pass on this information to generations through her book Sulwe.

“When you are young, at the time before the world tells you what you are worth, your parents and yourself, you have an opportunity to build yourself up. So yeah, that was the inspiration,” she said.

Lupita added: “I love children and I hope my window for having them has not passed, but … because I was hurt as a child by my skin, I felt that writing this book would make my wound my weapon. That was almost a way to heal the wound inside myself, but also provide for children today.”

Since its launch, Sulwe – which means star in Dholuo – has become one of New York Times bestseller and also got a slot in Netflix Bookmarks.

The book’s main character embraces her dark skin and eventually manages to break a huge barrier in accepting herself in a society where dark skin is regarded not as beautiful.

Since the book has already been published and is on the shelves, Lupita is now working towards animating the book into a short film in collaboration with Netflix.

Kenyan celebrity Akothee who was with Lupita during the live session said that she had contemplated bleaching herself due to low self-esteem.