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.

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Lupita Nyong’o Says She Is Not Excited to Film ‘Black Panther 2’ Without Chadwick Boseman

Entertainment

Lupita Nyong’o Says She Is Not Excited to Film ‘Black Panther 2’ Without Chadwick Boseman

Photo via Getty Images

The Marvel highlight reel for future movies dropped on Monday. The three-minute video gave Marvel fans a peak into what is to come in the near future. One of the most highly-anticipated Marvel movies on the horizon is Black Panther 2. But fans know that installment is sure to be drastically different after the passing of Chadwick Boseman.

Ryan Coogler, the director of “Black Panther“, has already stated that Marvel has no intentions of recasting the role of T’Challa. However, Lupita Nyong’o–who played Nakia in the first installment–will be reprising her original role.

Recently, Afro-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o revealed in an interview that she is not excited to return to the world of Wakanda without Chadwick Boseman.

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Nyong’o explained her complicated feelings about Black Panther‘s second installment, which will be called “World of Wakanda”.

“People will ask me, ‘Are you excited to go back?’ Excitement isn’t the word,” she explained. “I feel like I’m in a very pensive and meditative state when it comes to Black Panther 2. His passing is still extremely raw for me.” According to Yahoo Entertainment, Nyong’o’s voice became audibly emotional. “And I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like to step on set and not have him there.”

Lupita Nyong’o went on to say that “World of Wakanda” will be a sort of tribute to the “light” of Chadwick Boseman.

“We have a leader in [director Ryan Coogler], who feels very much like we do, who feels the loss in a very, very real way as well. And his idea, the way which he has reshaped the second movie is so respectful of the loss we’ve all experienced as a cast and as a world. So it feels spiritually and emotionally correct to do this,” she said.

Nyong’o went on to say that she looks forward to “getting back together and honoring what he started with us and holding his light through it. Because he left us a lot of light that we’re still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure.”

When Chadwick Boseman passed away in August of last year, Nyong’o wrote a touching and heartfelt tribute to the late actor on her Instagram page.

“When we came together to make Black Panther, I remember being struck by his quiet, powerful presence,” she wrote. “He had no airs about him, but there was a higher frequency that he seemed to operate from. You got the sense that he was fully present and also somehow fully aware of things in the distant future. As a result, I noticed that Chadwick never seemed rushed! He commanded his time with ease.”

She continued, saying that Boseman was “absorbent. Agile. He set the bar high by working with a generosity of spirit, creating an ego-free environment by sheer example, and he always had a warm gaze and a strong embrace to share.”

As of now, Black Panther 2, which will be called “Wakanda Forever”, is set to be released in July of 2022.

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New Children’s Book ‘Escucha Mi Voz’ Tells the Stories of Migrant Children In Their Own Words

Culture

New Children’s Book ‘Escucha Mi Voz’ Tells the Stories of Migrant Children In Their Own Words

Courtesy Workman Publishing

Have you ever wondered what’s going on in the hearts and minds of migrant children? Are they afraid, sad? What circumstances at home forced them and their families to leave everything they’ve known behind and search for a new life in a strange land? Well, you wouldn’t be alone. A new book called “Escucha Mi Voz” is exploring those difficult questions.

Law professor and children’s rights advocate Warren Binford interviewed dozens of migrant children when visited a migrant facility in Clint, Texas in 2019.

While she was there, Binford witnessed the shocking and inhumane conditions migrants—and especially migrant children—are forced to live in. She decided to record their stories for the world to hear.

Binford compiled the harrowing stories in a picture book called “Escucha mi Voz/Hear My Voice”. Binford says she was inspired to create this project because of how difficult it was to relay these children’s stories to adult audiences. The book comes in both English and Spanish-language versions.

“People were so depressed. They would call me and say, ‘I can’t do it. I bawl my eyes out. It’s too much,'” Binford told NPR. “And so then it was like, ‘OK. How do we help people to access this knowledge that the children have given us in the children’s own words?’ “

“Escucha Mi Voz” features illustrations from 17 Latino artists, all interpreting the words of these migrant children in art form. 

“Having these really fabulous artists come together and illustrate the book helps to create a more accessible point of entry into these children’s lives, and who they are, and why they came to the United States,” Binford said.

“Escucha Mi Voz” features stories from migrant children who range in age from 4 to 17. They come from El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. But they all have one thing in common: they’ve experienced the trauma of displacement.

“We were kept in a cage. It is very crowded,” said one child. “There is no room to move without stepping over others. There’s not even enough room for the baby to crawl.”

“One of the guards came in yesterday afternoon and asked us how many stripes were on the flag of the United States,” said another. “We tried to guess, but when we were wrong, he slammed the door.”

Binford hopes that transforming these children’s stories into picture book-form will make their plight more accessible and relatable to American audiences.

“I hope families will actually have enough energy at the end of reading the book that they’re like, ‘What can we do?’ And, you know, ‘We’ll write to political leaders, maybe volunteer to be a sponsor or maybe volunteer to be a foster family.’ “

All proceeds of “Escucha Mi Voz” go directly to Project Amplify, an organization dedicated to “raising awareness for the plight of child migrants”. Buy your copy now through their website or Amazon.

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