Lupita Nyong’o Speaks on Colorism and More Opportunities for People of Color

Lupita Nyong’o (Photo: Courtesy of Vogue)

article by Erica Schwiegershausen via nymag.com

In the October issue of Vogue, three-time cover girl Lupita Nyong’o talks about growing up in Nairobi, and her desire to see more African narratives represented in Hollywood and beyond. “I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to do that,” she said.

Recently, Nyong’o starred in “Eclipsed” on Broadway, playing a 15-year-old girl held captive by a rebel officer in Liberia. In her latest film, “Queen of Katwe,” she plays the mother of a Ugandan girl who becomes an international chess master. (The film opens next week.) And she’s also working on the forthcoming film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah“— a love story that centers around two Nigerians.

“Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice … I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful,” Nyong’o said.  She was drawn to “Queen of Katwe,” she said, because it was “based on a true story, an uplifting story out of Africa.”  Nyong’o also reflected — not for the first time — on the significance of seeing darker-skinned women represented and celebrated as beautiful.

Alek Wek changed how dark people saw themselves,” she said. “That I could do the same in a way for somebody somewhere is amazing.” She added, “The European sense of beauty affects us all. I came home from college in the early two-thousands and saw ads on TV with a girl who can’t get a job. She uses this product. She gets her skin lighter. She gets the job. The lording of lighter skin is a common thing growing up in Nairobi. Being called ‘black mamba.’ The slow burn of recognizing something else is better than you.”

Working on the set of “Queen of Katwe,” Nyong’o said a young Ugandan-British woman came up to her and said: “I’ve never had so many people call me beautiful until you showed up. I get called to auditions I never would have been called to before. I know it’s because you exist.”

Source: Lupita Nyong’o Wants Opportunities for People of Color

Pretty Period: New Website Highlights The Beauty Of Dark Skinned Women

pretty period feat

Source: Tumblr/Photos By Ann Marie Blake

One of the very valid criticisms women had for Bill Duke’s film Dark Girls, was the fact that it seemed to focus almost exclusively on the ways in which being a dark complected woman or girl was such a hardship. While the film touched on a very necessary conversation, it didn’t tell the full story. There was very little celebration of the beauty of dark skinned women.

Professor, scholar and producer, Dr. Yaba Blay, is working to fill in the gaps with a new website called “Pretty Period.” You’ve heard people offer up the backhanded compliment “pretty for a dark skinned girl”? Well Blay with the help of photographer Ann Marie Blake want you to know these dark skinned women are pretty period. She hopes the site will “visually demonstrate the sheer abundance of dark-skinned beauty. We are indeed everywhere. We stand as the rule, not the exception.”

On the About page for the site, Blay said,

“As an academic, I could have simply written about it (which I did) or discussed it in my classrooms (which I do), but after doing this work for what feels like my entire life, I’m at a point where I would much rather create than to critique.

Enter ‘Pretty. Period,’ a (soon to be) transmedia project created as a visual missive in reaction to the oh-so-popular, yet oh-so-offensive “compliment” – “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” Our collective response is, “No, we’re pretty. PERIOD.”

Showcasing girls and women of brown-to-dark complexions in the truth of their beauty, ‘Pretty. Period’ emerges as a visual tribute to brown skin,  a visional testament to Black beauty, and a vision board for healing – both ours and yours.”

The site, which is broken off into several sections, includes information about the creators and collaborators, photos submitted by women who identify as brown or dark complected and official project photographs.

There is also a section called “Journal” where you’ll find very few critical pieces. Blay says this is because while there is much to say on the topic of dark skinned beauty, she wants to focus on the period part of the site’s name. There’s no need for an explanation or defense of the beauty of these women. It just is.

Check out some of the pictures here on the following pages and then be sure to head over and explore the beauty of the Pretty Period site and even submit your own photos if you’re so inclined.

See more at: http://madamenoire.com/327492/pretty-period-new-website-highlights-beauty-dark-skinned-women/#sthash.HcLtciWc.dpuf