Tag: “12 Years A Slave”

Lupita Nyong’o Covers Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year 2014 Issue

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Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o has been on a roll in 2014; in February, the actress won an Oscar for “12 Years a Slave” and has subsequently been popping up on “best dressed” and “most beautiful” lists ever since, in addition to becoming a beauty ambassador for Lancome and landing a role in the upcoming “Star Wars” reboot by JJ Abrams.

Nevertheless, in her interview with Glamour magazine, she tells the magazine the attention she’s received has been overwhelming.  “Right now I’m still adjusting. I guess I feel catapulted into a different place; I have a little whiplash,” she said. “I did have a dream to be an actress, but I didn’t think about being famous. And I haven’t yet figured out how to be a celebrity; that’s something I’m learning, and I wish there were a course on how to handle it.”

She couldn’t even imagine what winning the Oscar would be like, she observed.

“I don’t think I will ever be able to really articulate how bizarre it was to hear my name at the Academy Awards. I’d watched in my pajamas the year before!” she said. “I felt numb — dazed and confused. I remember feeling light — weightless. More like limbo than cloud nine.”

Nyong’o, who was born in Mexico of Kenyan parents, mentions that she didn’t know success on this level would be possible for a woman with darker skin.  For her, Oprah Winfrey wasn’t just a role model but a “reference point,” and seeing Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in “The Color Purple” was key to her belief that she could become successful.

She hopes she can have the same effect on people who see her.

“I’ve heard people talk about images in popular culture changing, and that makes me feel great, because it means that the little girl I was, once upon a time, has an image to instill in her that she is beautiful, that she is worthy,” she said. “Until I saw people who looked like me, doing the things I wanted to, I wasn’t so sure it was a possibility.”

The December issue of Glamour will be available on newsstands November 11.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Lupita Nyong’o Helps Fight for Preservation Of Virginia Slave-Trade History

Protesters interrupt the mayor during a news conference Monday, while he announces a plan to move the Richmond Flying Squirrels to Shockoe Bottom. Critics say the ballpark will desecrate ground where hundreds of thousands of slave were once sold and imprisoned. (Scott Elmquist)
Protesters interrupt the mayor during a news conference Monday, while he announces a plan to move the Richmond Flying Squirrels to Shockoe Bottom. Critics say the ballpark will desecrate ground where hundreds of thousands of slave were once sold and imprisoned. (Scott Elmquist)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — “Twelve Years a Slave” actress Lupita Nyong’o is lending her star power to the opposition to a minor league baseball stadium in what was once the center of Richmond’s thriving slave-trading center.

Nyong’o has been posting anti-stadium opinions on social media to her millions of followers, and has personally appealed to Mayor Dwight C. Jones to withdraw support of the stadium that is the centerpiece of an economic development project.

“Evidence of America’s slave history simply must be preserved, as the legacy of slavery affects all American people,” she wrote in a letter dated Oct. 19 to Jones.

In response, Jones invited Nyong’o to visit the former capital of the Confederacy to see Shockoe Bottom and plans to preserve its slave-trading past.

“Our plans show where we want to invest in that history and lift that history up for future generations to learn from,” Jones wrote.

The stadium-centered project is proposed for Shockoe Bottom, the city’s oldest neighborhood and once the bustling center of the slave-trade. By some estimates, more 300,000 men, women and children were jailed, bought and sold in the Bottom and shipped throughout the Southern states in the decades leading to the Civil War.

The stadium proposal has unleashed pent-up frustration among those who believe the city has literally buried that shameful chapter of its history. The area is now home to nightclubs, restaurants, former tobacco warehouses transformed into townhouses and parking lots.

Nyong’o has a “12 Years a Slave” connection to the neighborhood. The celebrated film depicts the life of Solomon Northrup, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He is initially held in a Shockoe Bottom jail where slaves were chained before they were sold to growers in the Deep South.

Continue reading “Lupita Nyong’o Helps Fight for Preservation Of Virginia Slave-Trade History”

Jordan Anderson, Freed Slave who Penned Sarcastic Letter to Old Master After He Was Asked Back to Farm Pictured for 1st Time

Jordan Anderson
Scathing: Former slave Jordan Anderson wrote a satirical letter in 1865 to his old master after he was asked to return to work for him.

The photograph, scratched and undated, is captioned ‘Brother Jordan Anderson‘. He is a middle-aged black man with a long beard and a righteous stare, as if he were a preacher locking eyes with a sinner, or a judge about to dispatch a thief to the gallows.

Anderson was a former slave who was freed from a Tennessee plantation by Union troops in 1864 and spent his remaining 40 years in Ohio.  He lived quietly and probably would have been forgotten, if not for a remarkable letter to his former master published in a Cincinnati newspaper shortly after the Civil War.

Treasured as a social document, praised as a masterpiece of satire, Anderson’s letter has been anthologized and published all over the world. Historians teach it, and the letter turns up occasionally on a blog or on Facebook.  Humorist Andy Borowitz read the letter recently and called it, in an email to The Associated Press, “something Twain would have been proud to have written.”

Addressed to one Col. Patrick Henry Anderson, who apparently wanted Jordan to come back to the plantation east of Nashville, the letter begins cheerfully, with the former slave expressing relief that ‘you had not forgotten Jordon’ (there are various spellings of the name) and were ‘promising to do better for me than anybody else can’. But, he adds, ‘I have often felt uneasy about you’.

He informs the colonel that he’s now making a respectable wage in Dayton, Ohio, and that his children are going to school.

He tallies the monetary value of his services while on Anderson’s plantation – $11,608 – then adds, ‘we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you.’ Continue reading “Jordan Anderson, Freed Slave who Penned Sarcastic Letter to Old Master After He Was Asked Back to Farm Pictured for 1st Time”

Andre 3000 Embodies the Spirit Of Jimi Hendrix In “All Is By My Side” (TRAILER)

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Andre 3000 / Jimi Hendrix

Music and movie fans alike have been waiting anxiously to see Andre 3000 star as legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. While the film “All Is By My Side” hits theaters on September 26th, another trailer has been released, theurbandaily.com reports.

“All Is By My Side” follows Hendrix’s life for one year, 1966 to 1967. That was the pivotal year Hendrix went from a backup guitarist at a New York nightspot The Cheetah Club to making a name for himself in the London music scene and finally his breakout moment at Monterey Pop Festival.  The film was written and directed by Oscar winner John Ridley, who is currently executive producing the new drama series “American Crime” for ABC.

Check out the official trailer for “All Is By My Side” below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

 

Lupita Nyong’o Options Film Rights to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah”

Lupita Nyong’o attends the 2014 Annual Garden Brunch at the Beall-Washington House in Washington, DC.
(PHOTO CREDIT: PAUL MORIGI/WIREIMAGE)

Back in March, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie hinted that she was working on something with Lupita Nyong’o but wouldn’t go into detail.  The secret is finally out and Adichie announced Thursday that Nyong’o has optioned the film rights to her novel Americanah.  

According to The Root, the news was revealed by Adichie and announced via Stylist Magazine’s Twitter account saying, “Lupita Nyong’o has optioned rights for the film version of Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie confirms #stylistbookclub.”

The novel is a love story that follows a young couple from Nigeria who face hard choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. Americanah was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review, also winning the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

Adichie is not stranger to the big screen, her book Half of a Yellow Sun is playing in theaters now and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.

This will be Nyong’o’s first major film announcement since her Academy Award winning performance in 12 Years a Slave.

article by Dominique Hobdy via essence.com

Lupita Nyong’o Named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Person of 2014

Lupita Nyong'oAcademy Award-Winner Lupita Nyong’o, whose speech on beauty went viral a few months ago, graces this week’s cover of People Magazine, which celebrates the “50 Most Beautiful” People of 2014.

England’s Duchess Kate Middleton and fellow Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence were also considered for the honor, but Nyong’o was named Most Beautiful, as was revealed this morning on the Today Show (click link to see video).

Nyong’o says of the cover: “It was exciting and just a major, major compliment…I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”

The 31-year-old actress, whose powerful portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years A Slave had Hollywood buzzing, became the 2014 red carpet season’s “It” girl. And, although she was recently named the latest Lancome ambassador, Nyong’o prefers “when I have been called beautiful without one drop of makeup on.”

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Lupita Nyong’o Celebrates Marie Claire Cover In Cute Frock & New Hairdo

Lupita Nyong'o

According to huffingtonpost.com, Lupita Nyong’o has accomplished another fashion feat. The ink has barely dried on her historic Lancôme Beauty Ambassador deal, and the Academy Award-winning star has landed one of Marie Claire’s five May covers, along with fellow actresses Elle FanningKate Mara, Emilia Clarke and Elizabeth Olsen.

The actresses looked radiant Tuesday night in Hollywood while celebrating the glossy’s “Fresh Faces” issue. Both Elle and Kate opted for bold red-hued cocktail dresses, while Lupita turned heads in a light gray-and-blue floral embroidered Giambattista Valli frock. And Lupita’s showstopping look was further heightened by her fabulous new hairdo.

The 12 Years a Slave star has transformed her faded cut with a fake widow’s peakAfro puffs, and dazzling headbands in the past. However, Tuesday night Lupita upped the ante by donning a faux mohawk/pompadour.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

 

“12 Years A Slave” Triumphs with Oscars for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress

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12 Years A Slave topped off its amazing awards-season run by earning the Best Picture Oscar tonight at the 86th Academy Awards. 12 Years director/producer Steve McQueen and producer Brad Pitt accepted the award at the end of a night that also saw writer John Ridley win for Best Adapted Screenplay, and rising star Lupita Nyong’o triumph in the Best Supporting Actress category.  According to Variety.com, McQueen made history by becoming the first black producer to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

The star-studded night also saw an energizing performance of “Happy” by Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams (who danced with Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in the aisles), a brief a cappella version of “Eye on the Sparrow” from Darlene Love during the Best Feature Documentary acceptance speech for 20 Feet From Stardom and Oscar presentations from Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Tyler Perry, Gabourey Sidibe, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and the first black man to ever win a Leading Actor Oscar, Sidney Poitier.

best-supporting-actress-academy-awards-1One of the biggest highlights of the evening was Nyong’o’s acceptance speech, where she honored those who suffered so she could shine:

Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.

Nyong’o then went on to thank McQueen, co-star and Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, her family and her chosen family, before closing with encouragement to children everywhere:

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. Thank you.

Continue reading ““12 Years A Slave” Triumphs with Oscars for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress”

“12 Years a Slave” Wins Best Feature and More at Independent Spirit Awards

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According to Variety.com12 Years a Slave dominated the Independent Spirit Awards today, winning Best Feature,  Best Director for Steve McQueen, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley12 Years also took the cinematography award for Sean Bobbitt.  McQueen dedicated his Best Director award to Solomon Northup, whose life and book was the basis for the searing historical drama, and also gave thanks to Chiwetel Ejiofor — the “soul” of the film.

In her acceptance speech, a composed Nyong’o said breathlessly that she had not been aware initially of the distinction of independent films, but said she then realized, “Independent film is where stuff actually happens.”  Nyong’o noted that it was her birthday and concluded her speech by thanking her mother for supporting her choice to become an actress.

Fruitvale Station finally gained some much-deserved recognition this awards season, winning Best First Feature for writer/director Ryan Coogler and its cast.  Coogler gave a moving acceptance speech honoring Oscar Grant that received a standing ovation.

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor trophy as an activist for Dallas Buyers Club and Cate Blanchett took the best actress award for her portrayal of the neurotic title character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. A full list of winners appears below.

In order to be nominated, each film has to have less than a $20 million production budget. To vote, one need only buy a $95 per year membership in Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Continue reading ““12 Years a Slave” Wins Best Feature and More at Independent Spirit Awards”

Read Lupita Nyong’o’s Moving Speech about Beauty at ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon

Lupita Nyong'oLupita Nyong’o was awarded Best Breakthrough Performance for her work in 12 Years a Slave at yesterday’s ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood LuncheonJust like at the Critics Choice Awards, her acceptance speech was sad and inspiring and beautiful — all at the same time. Here it is, in full:

I wrote down this speech that I had no time to practice so this will be the practicing session. Thank you Alfre, for such an amazing, amazing introduction and celebration of my work. And thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of such an extraordinary community. I am surrounded by people who have inspired me, women in particular whose presence on screen made me feel a little more seen and heard and understood. That it is ESSENCE that holds this event celebrating our professional gains of the year is significant, a beauty magazine that recognizes the beauty that we not just possess but also produce.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “Dear Lupita,” it reads, “I think you’re really lucky to be this black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

My heart bled a little when I read those words, I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before. I tried to negotiate with God, I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then … Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But around me, the preference for my skin prevailed, to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.

There is no shade to that beauty.

To see video of this speech, click here.

article by Lindsey Weber via vulture.com