Lupita Nyong’o, The New Face Of Black Culture

Is Lupita Nyong’o The New Face Of Black Culture?

Last week I made a comment on Facebook in regards to Lupita Nyong’o as to whether she is becoming the new face of Black culture here in America.  My comment was:

I get she’s the new IT girl in Hollywood who just happens to be Black, but let’s not get it twisted…she has 1 outstanding movie up under her belt, but let’s not act like she is about to change the world in regards to how little Black girls view themselves growing up.  Let’s not act like she’s being promoted to Queen Cleopatra status.  I get some of you are looking for more representatives in Hollywood, but let’s pump the brakes in declaring her the next candidate for Ms. Blacklantis.

Of course, you can imagine the backlash I recieved from this statement.  I was called everything from down right rude to just a flat out hater.  Even in the midst of me trying to explain my reasonings for making this statement in the comments on that thread, I was called even more of a hater.  Here’s the thing about social media debates…nobody likes to really read shit or scroll up to re-read some shit to see what point is actually being made.  Often times, people are in a hurry to type their point out and get it posted without really paying attention as to whether their point is even flowing in the general direction of the conversation.  It’s more of battle to see who can get the last word in.  As the battle of getting the last word in ends up carrying on to about 50+ comments in a thread, the original argument tends to get lost in translation & pretty much everyone is too lazy to go back & find the real explanation.  So, here we are on my website where I have 100% free range to explain this with little to no interruptions.

Why Did I Make This Comment?

Let’s go back to the beginning.  As we all know, Lupita Nyong’o played in the movie 12 Years A Slave and she won an Acadamy Award for her performance which I believe she truly earned.  If you have yet to see the movie 12 Years A Slave, then slap yourself.  The movie was great & Lupita’s role was equally great.  So if I feel this way about this actress, then what’s up with the statement?  I made this statement simply due to all of the online chatter surrounding her leading up the Oscars & after the Oscars.  It seemed like all day online all I saw was Lupita this, Lupita that.  Now I’m not mad, angry, or hating that people were celebrating her.  What I was being critical of was HOW people were celebrating her as if she is the ONE.  The ONE to transform how people in America are going to view Black people from that day forward.  I kept seeing how some darker skin women were posting online about how much better they or little dark skin girls would feel about themselves now that Lupita is representing them in Hollywood.  I then kept seeing how other Black people were posting online about how NOW IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL TO BE BLACK IN AMERICA!  And finally, I kept seeing things in my timeline in regards to Lupita stating how Black people are going to get treated with so much more respect.


Here’s where the problem kicks in for me & I became deemed as a Lupita Nyong’o hater.  I have no problem with people singing Lupita’s praises or giving her props for her accomplishments in life thus far.  Trust me, I too am applauding her & hope she goes on to have a very successful career in Hollywood or whatever she chooses to do in life.  What I do have an issue with is how people are elevating her to a status I don’t believe she’s yet earned due to one movie (granted she did win an Academy Award).  I don’t believe, based upon what I know of her, that she has accomplished enough in life for everyday average Black Americans to place her on such a high plateau as if she is about to redefine what it means to be Black in America.  I don’t think she is about to affect the way dark skin grown women & little girls view themselves in America when it comes to their dark skin complexion.  I DEFINITELY do not think she is the poster child for what it means to be black & beautiful in America.  I don’t think she is about to change the social conscious of America in how other races see Black people let alone how Black people see Black people.  I don’t see it happening.  What I do see happening is simply people getting excited about a new dark skin woman hitting the Hollywood scene making a huge splash & walking away with a coveted award.  That’s what I see.  I don’t see Lupita transforming into Ms. Blacklantis whisking around the world to change the hearts & minds of society at large.

How Come I Don’t See Her Changing The Way People Feel About Black People?

Lupita Nyong’o is an actress, a fairly new one at that.  That’s it.  Naturally she is going to get her shine on in a major way due to her role in 12 Years A Slave & her taking home an Oscar.  She should be getting her shine on.  She’s what’s hot right now.  That’s usually how Hollywood works.  Shit, when the rap group 3-6 Mafia became the first hip hop group to take home an Oscar, guess what, they were hot too for a year or so after that.  Fast forward to the present, Juicy J of 3-6 Mafia is probably experiencing the most success in his 20+ year rap career so far.  I’m willing to bet his success was launched even further due to him winning an Oscar a few years back.  But back to Lupita…

Lupita Nyong’o is hot, rightfully so.  Nobody is disputing that, nor is anybody hating on her for that.  But guess who else is hot and has been hot since the 80s and just happens to be a billionaire…Oprah.  Oprah Winfrey has been putting in work since the 80s.  She is a global phenomenon, she is only 1 of 2 Black billionaires in the United States, she owns her own television network which just happens to be called OWN, & she can literally make or break ANYBODY in the world.  Guess who else is Black, very influential, and hot…Michelle Obama.  Not only is she beautiful, she just happens to be married to the most powerful man in the world.  She too is a global phenom with a lot of power, respect, very well accomplished in life & she too can make things happen with the snap of her fingers.  Lastly, the Williams sisters, Venus & Serena.  Both of them have been hot, both extremely talented, & both highly successful.  I list these 4 women because all 4 of them are Black women whom represent many facets ranging from the entertainment industry, to the business world, to the political world, to the sports world.  All 4 women have been in the public spotlight for at least a decade or so.  All 4 women have reached the top of their respective fields & have maintained their top status with dignity & respect.  Yet all 4 women, from what I’ve seen, have never been elevated to the level I see Black people elevating Lupita Nyong’o to.  Possibly Michelle Obama when she first hit the national scene, but I don’t even think it was to the level I’ve seen people praising Lupita.  I don’t really recall ever hearing anyone say, “NOW IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL TO BE BLACK IN AMERICA!” in regards to any of these women.  If there was such a statement made, please post the source in the comments.

So What’s My Point?

My point is this…Lupita is beautiful, talented, & hopefully on the right path to doing great & wonderful things with her life as actress.  I sincerely applaud her for efforts this far in life with absolutely zero hate coming from me.  But, I do not think she has been around long enough or even accomplished enough yet for people to be declaring her the “new face of Blackness”.  I do not think she is going to be the person to change the views the on how dark skin women & little girls view themselves in a more positive & confident light in regards to their skin tone.  Seriously, if Oprah’s Dark Girls documentary can’t fix the problem…

then I do not expect Lupita be the answer.  What I see honestly is a talented actress who just happens to be pretty AND dark skin.  Yes, she will provide further inspiration for all dark skin women, but I do not see her changing the way dark skin women change the way they see themselves in the eyes of other people.  We all know how Americans love to idolize athletes & Hollywood stars, so it’s of no surprise to me that a dark skin woman winning an Academy Award would be getting such high praise & celebration.  Truth be told, it just isn’t many dark skin women in Hollywood winning Oscars.  But even so, that still doesn’t mean she’s going to change the way people view Black people in our society, let alone even how Black people view Black people.  In due time, maybe she will.  Who knows…anything is possible.  Just at this present moment in time, I think people are confusing her acting accomplishments thus far with potential symbolisms of what it means to be Black & beautiful in America.  She is Black, she is beautiful, but is she really going to impact how black culture develops a sense of empowerment & confidence in one’s race….I think not at this point in time.  If people are not publically praising Oprah or Michelle Obama like they are Lupita, then I really don’t see it happening.

One Last Thing To Ponder

If White Hollywood didn’t spotlight & celebrate Lupita…would Black America?  Think about that.

Your favorite mulatto.

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