Entertainment

Lupita Nyong’o Wrote A Children’s Book About The Prejudice In Favor Of Lighter Skin Color And It’s Out This Month

“Black Panther” and “Us” star Lupita Nyong’o keeps wowing audiences and critics with every performance. She stunned the whole world with her interpretation of Patsey in “Twelve Years a Slave” which earned her an Oscar—making her the first African woman to ever win an Academy Award for acting. Her performance in “Us” made us all shift in our seats watching her amazing portrayal of “Red” the creepy anti-hero of the film. 

She speaks four languages, has a graduate degree from Yale, won an Academy Award for her debut performance, has covered fashion magazines and newspapers around the world and has every film critic in her pocket, what else could she possibly do next? 

Write a book. 

The Kenyan-Mexican actress is debuting her first book this month.

credit Instagram @lupitanyongo

Inspired by the lack of diversity in the books she read growing up, the actress turned author, decided to do her part by creating a children’s book that tackles colorism and representation. “Sulwe” which means “star” in Luo, Lupita’s native language, is a children’s picture book that’s all about a girl whose skin is “the color of midnight”, who is “darker than everyone in her family”, according to its official synopsis by publishing house Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and is described by the publisher as “a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within.”

Nyong’o first announced the news of the book on her Instagram page back in January. 

“Sulwe is a dark-skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.” The Kenyan-Mexican actress told Marie Claire that she hopes Sulwe will offer inspiration to young readers, saying, “In no way do I imagine a child will read this and never have a problem with the world discriminating against their skin or themselves discriminating again their skin. But at least you have a foundation. You have something that reminds you that you are enough.”

The book is illustrated by artist, filmmaker and bestselling author Vashti Harrison, a fervent activist for racial equality herself.

credit www.vasthiharrison.com

The book is illustrated by Vashti Harrison, the author and illustrator of New York Times bestselling book “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History”. Nyong’o said in a statement that she’s loved having Harrison on board, “Sulwe is a character near and dear to my heart, and seeing her brought to life through Vashti’s illustrations is thrilling.” Vashti, an artist, slash filmmaker, slash author, revealed that she wanted the art for “Sulwe” to be eye-catching, magical and whimsical, “The story has an incredibly moving and powerful message, while at the same time shares a fun and whimsical adventure. I wanted to infuse every page with as much elegance and thoughtfulness, as much magic and wonder, so readers would want to come back again and again.”

credit Instagram @lupitanyongo

The 48-page book is aimed at children as young as four, through to the age of eight. Executive Editor at “Sulwe”‘s publishing house Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, said in an interview: “Lupita is outspoken on the issue of colorism, and gave a moving speech about the subject at the Essence Awards in 2014. Colorism is the theme that she’s chosen to expand on for her first picture book. In Sulwe, Lupita Nyong’o shines a light on the prejudices of skin color honestly and unflinchingly but in a way that is also accessible for even the youngest readers. Sulwe introduces an unforgettable character whose journey in the night sky is magical, empowering, and full of whimsy. This story is a beautiful celebration of learning where your strengths lie and discovering the beauty within that kids from all backgrounds can relate to. The story takes place in Kenya, a country not often represented in picture books, and the culture and setting are integral to the story.”

This week, Lupita took to Twitter to share some thoughts on the importance that representation has on young black children like her, when she was growing up.

credit Twitter @lupita_nyongo

On a lengthy post on Twitter, Lupita Nyong’o shared that the book is a love letter to her younger self and to black children around the world. She wrote about how growing up, she never saw girls and women like her represented in the books she read. She went on to say how she was given a glimpse, “a window”  into the lives of people who looked nothing like her, and how that made her yearn for a black role model, “I didn’t have any mirrors”, “mirrors help us develop our sense of self”.

“Colourism, society’s preference for lighter skin is alive and well. It is not just a prejudice reserved for places with a largely white population. Throughout the world, even in Kenya, even today, there is a popular sentiment that lighter is brighter.” “Sulwe” is released online and in bookstores everywhere October 15.

White Students Burned A Book After A Latina Called Them Privileged, Not Realizing That Burning Books Is A Privilege

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White Students Burned A Book After A Latina Called Them Privileged, Not Realizing That Burning Books Is A Privilege

lina Kapyro / EyeEm / getty images

Truth hurts, white privilege exists and it’s beyond toxic. Students at a predominantly white university in Georgia took umbrage with this truth however when a Latina author delivered a lecture at their school about the issue. In protest of the notion that they were privileged, several students who had attended the lecture committed one of the most privileged acts of all time and burned her book.

Jennine Capó Crucet spoke at Georgia Southern University on Wednesday night about her book “Make Your Home Among Strangers.”

Her novel is a fictional piece about a young Latina from a lower-middle-class family living in Miami. The book follows her journey as she attends school at a prestigious college in New York state and struggles to keep up both socially and academically in the new “predominantly white” school setting. According to Georgia Southern University, the book was required reading for some of its First-Year Experience classes.

After speaking about the book at Georgia Southern University’s Performing Arts Center on Wednesday she opened up her lecture to audience questions.

According to GSU’s school newspaper the George-Anne, the question and answer section of the lecture quickly turned into a rush of questions about her criticisms of white people.

“I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged,” one student said to Capó Crucet, according to the school paper. “What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”

In response, Capó Crucet explained that she had been invited to the university to speak about white privilege “It’s a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question,” she reportedly replied.

It didn’t take long for her response to spur more questions about race and white privilege from students present. According to Buzzfeed News, students became upset when the author asserted that most white people “needed to be removed from authority positions because two-thirds of people in high positions should not be white.”

That evening a group of students organized a burning of her book on campus.

According to reports, some students also gathered outside of the hotel that she had been staying at.

“Last night’s discussion with the author devolved into accusations of her demonstrating racism against white people. Some students burned copies of Crucet’s book and even gathered outside her hotel. We assert that destructive and threatening acts do not reflect the values of Georgia Southern University,” Dr. Russell Willerton, the department chair, said in a statement.

In response to the burning, Capó Crucet tweeted “This is where we are, America.”

In response to the book-burning incident that took place on their campus, the university’s vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing John Lester said the school is “not planning any actions against any of the students involved in this incident… While it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas.”

Truth is that whatever you think of white privilege and the contents of this author’s book is never really a good look.

READ: A Viciously Racist Video Has Gone Viral In Which Two Girls Call For The Return Of Slavery And The KKK

Lil Libros Finally Adds Musician Ritchie Valens To The List Of Icons Highlighted In Bilingual Children’s Books

Entertainment

Lil Libros Finally Adds Musician Ritchie Valens To The List Of Icons Highlighted In Bilingual Children’s Books

lillibros.com

Lil’ Libros has been gifting Latino parents the gift of a single children’s book read in two languages to promote bilingualism in Latino niños around the world. The stories are all about Latino icons that have shaped and defined our culture throughout history, honoring stories like Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Cuban music legend, Celia Cruz. With nearly 20 books in the collection so far, we thought Lil’ Libros couldn’t get any cuter or more relevant until it added the story of Ricardo “Ritchie” Valenzuela in “The Life of / La Vida de: Ritchie.”

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The children’s book will cover all the highlights of Ritchie’s life.

Credit: lil_libros / Instagram

“Born May 13, 1941, Ritchie Valens was a Mexican-American singer, songwriter, and guitarist,” reads the book description. “His musical journey began at age 5 when his father encouraged him to take up guitar. In high school, he made his performing debut with the band The Silhouettes. At 17, Ritchie recorded his final record, which included classics like “Donna” and “La Bamba”. That record went on to sell over one million copies. To this day, Ritchie  Valens’ music lives on in the hearts of many!”

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Ritchie followed his passions, and they became a gift to the music world.

Credit: lil_libros / Instagram

Ritchie is considered the father of the Chicano rock movement. He was the son of two Mexican immigrants, born in the Los Angeles valley as Richard Steven Valenzuela. Even though Ritchie was left-handed, he taught himself how to play the guitar, trumpet, and drums, and was so in love with music, he learned it all with a dominant right hand. He was always bringing his guitar to his high school to play for his friends. By the time he was 16 years old, he was invited to join The Silhouettes, and eventually became the lead singer. He only released two records during his lifetime, and is best known for “La Bamba.” He’s also known for being the first Latino to successfully cross over into the U.S. mainstream rock genre, inspiring Selena, Café Tacuba, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and even Carlos Santana to fuse Latinidad with rock.

Click here to check out our entire Lil Libros collection!

We *doubt* they’ll include that Ritchie dropped out of high school.

Credit: lil_libros / Instagram

He became a raging success with the release of his first and only three records and dropped out of school to keep up with his career. Ritchie actually didn’t know any Spanish, and his family only spoke English and Spanglish in their house. He learned to sing “La Bamba” in Spanish by learning the song phonetically. Just this year, The U.S. Library of Congress selected “La Bamba” to be preserved in the National Recording Registry as “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.”

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Or Ritchie’s tragic death by a plane crash at just 17 years old.

Credit: lil_libros / Instagram

Ritchie had a fear of flying that he eventually overcome throughout his short-lived music career. His fear started during the second term of his junior year in high school. Two airplanes collided over the school’s playground on January 31, 1957, killing and injuring several of his friends. It all happened while Ritchie was at his abuelo’s funeral. His first flight was to Philadelphia to appear on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand show, where he performed “Come On, Let’s Go.” The following month, he was flying to Hawaii to perform with Buddy Holly and Paul Anka.

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Ritchie won a coin toss that fateful February 2, 1959 winter day in Iowa that won him a spot on a small plane that would later crash and kill everyone on the plane. His band had been traveling by tour bus throughout the Midwest without adequate heating, causing them all to catch the flu and, in one case, even frostbite. They were desperate to get on a flight out, and only the guitarist, Tommy Allsup, and bassist Waylon Jennings were spared, simply because they lost their coin tosses. 

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Ritchie took off at 12:55 am and crashed just minutes later.

Credit: lil_libros / Instagram

Still, nobody knows why the plane crashed. It killed everyone on impact. Ritchie suffered a blunt force trauma to the chest and unsurvivable head injuries, dying at just 17 years old. His death inspired Don McLean to write “American Pie,” forever remembering February 3 as “The Day the Music Died.” The music may have died by Ritchie’s legacy continues to live on, now in both Spanish and English at storytimes.

Click here to check out our entire Lil Libros collection!