Mexican-born actress Lupita Nyong’o took to her social media accounts on Monday to reveal some exciting news: she has written a children’s book due out in October.
The book is entitled “Sulwe” and revolves around a dark-skinned girl learning to accept her skin color.
According to Nyong’o, she wrote “Sulwe” to “encourage children (and everyone really!) to love the skin they are in and see the beauty that radiates from within”. The illustrations in the children’s book were provided by Vashti Harrison, a Brooklyn-based author, illustrator and filmmaker.
According to the synopsis on Simon & Schuster’s website, the story of “Sulwe” will revolve around a little girl named Sulwe who has “skin the color of midnight” who longs to be “beautiful and bright” like the rest of her family. One night, a “magical journey in the night sky” changes the way she views herself.
This isn’t the first time Lupita Nyong’o has made it her mission to shine a spotlight on the negative impact of colorism on the black community.
The “Us” actress has been candid before about the struggle she’s gone through to accept her skin color as well as her mission to eradicate colorism within Hollywood and the black community at large.
Naturally, Latinas on Twitter are all for N’yongo’s new project.
Because although the Latinx community is tackling colorism now more than it ever did before, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Some Latinas just couldn’t hold back their feelings of appreciation towards Nyong’o
Pose is unlike any other show on television. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the series’ esteemed accolades. Last month, Pose earned six Emmy nominations. Co-creator Steven Canals will be the first Latinx producer ever nominated for a drama Emmy. It is the first show that features a predominately POC and LGBTQ+ cast and crew to be nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. Writers Janet Mock and Lady J are the first Emmy-nominated trans producers. Meanwhile, Billy Porter is the first openly gay black person to be nominated for Outstanding Lead in a Drama Series.
This is a lot of firsts. None of which could be possible without the Bronx-born Latinx, Steven Canals drawing from his experiences growing up in New York City. Pose shows that when LGBTQ folks and people of color are given the space to tell their own stories, people will watch.
Pose is magic.
Pose follows the lives of black and Latinx transwomen and queer men as they strive for autonomy, identity, and community through ballroom culture in 1980s and 1990s New York City. The series is visually stunning and emotionally gripping. Watching MJ Rodriguez as Blanca trying to do right by her chosen family, which is made up of other LGBTQ+ folks who’ve been rejected by their biological families and society at large, is like watching any mama trying to do right by her young. The themes are relatable, but the stories are fresh, new, and insightful because they focus on queer experiences that are too often relegated to the fringes of culture.
Basically, what I am saying is stream Pose on FXNOW or Netflix.
A new Latinx visionary.
Steven Canals grew up in The Bronx in the 1980s. After spending years in higher education, riddled with self-doubt about whether he could compete in Hollywood, Canals finally decided to pursue his dreams.
“And so finally, after five years, I was so tired of beating myself up and just so happened upon a career quiz that suggested I become a screenwriter. I sat with that for a little bit, and then about a week or so later I discovered UCLA’s online screenwriting program on a random film blog. I immediately applied, was accepted, and enrolled in the program while still working on-campus full-time,” Canals told Buzzfeed.
Canals experienced homophobia and bullying from his peers while navigating the homophobic propaganda presented in the mainstream media in the 1980s.
“Obviously I like being a queer person now, but [in the ’80s and ’90s] I either couldn’t or didn’t want to see what some people were seeing in me because there were no LGBTQ role models that could point to and say, ‘Look, it’s fine.’ [To me, this community] was still living under the cloud that was HIV, AIDS, homophobia, and just so much misinformation,” he said.
That feeling when you get to see yourself on screen.
Canals based Damon’s character, a young queer dancer with big dreams and a difficult home life, on himself. The characters of Blanca and Helena were based on the strong women he had in his life.
“There are a lot of very strong, independent, and complicated women in Pose and it comes out of having spent an entire life being surrounded by women who are all of those things,” Canals said.
Latinx representation is sorely lacking. A study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that 47 percent of the 1,200 surveyed films did not have any Latinx speaking roles. Only 3 percent of the highest-grossing movies from 2007 to 2018 had a Latinx actor as a lead or co-lead. Only 17 out of 1,200 films had a Latinx woman in a leading role. Moreover, the study notes that fair-skinned Latinx actors are expected to portray white characters, while Afro-Latinx actors are expected to play black American characters. In both cases, Latinx identity is erased.
LGBTQ+ representation hit a record high in 2018, with 8.8% of TV characters identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, according to GLAAD’s annual TV diversity report. For the first time, LGBTQ+ people of color outnumbered white LGBTQ+ characters. However, this is largely due to the singular effort of Pose.
“GLAAD counted 26 trans characters on TV, which is nine more than last year. A significant percentage of that progress was driven by Ryan Murphy’s new series Pose on FX, which has five new trans characters,” according to the Verge.
The power of diversity on and off-screen.
The cast and crew of Pose have had a transformative effect on representation. The show has queer people telling stories from queer history with allusions to the infamous drag queen and fashion designer Dorian Corey to a slew of consultants whose real lives revolve around drag and ballroom culture.
“That’s why it was so critically important for us at Pose to have the [actual] ballroom community be part of our process and the show’s narrative as consultants, choreographers, and experts, not just providing a seat at the table but also compensating them for taking a seat,” Canals said.
The appeal of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is undeniable, ever since she was elected to represent New York’s 14th district last year she’s been making headlines. Her story is an inspiring rise to fame from being born and raised in the Bronx to repping her neighborhood as the youngest congresswoman in U.S. history. Cementing her iconic status is her bold push against the status quo in government, promoting progressive plans and unapologetically being true to herself. These are just some of the reasons she’s come to represent the modern-day empowered, socially conscious politician that serves as an inspiration for women of all ages.
So why not put her in a book?
A new book titled The ABCs of AOC: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from A to Z is due to debut this October.
Feminist Press Executive Director & Publisher and author Jamia Wilson and illustrator Krystal Quiles teamed up to showcase AOC’s story and history-making career in the alphabet book.
Wilson is a feminist activist also striving for change and so she created this book to honor a woman whose views are in line with her own and clearly many other young women.
“AOC shows kids of all races and genders that they are never too young to speak up, take action, and make a change in their community,” she told Romper. “Her historic ascent illustrates the power of curiosity, courage, and using your voice to support and inspire others. Whether readers are interested in activism, education, civics, feminism, or science they’ll connect with the story of her heroic journey from the Bronx to the House.”
The book includes words like “Xenophobia,” “Grassroots,” and “Feminist,” and “Advocate” with art that has AOC in her famous white power suit, red lips, and gold hoops.
The Boricua congresswoman has been working toward making big changes since she took office when she was 29, having previously been a bartender as well as worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
Her main focus has been the Green New Deal which aims to convert the U.S. economy to renewable energy in the next 12 year, encouraging job creation and innovations in technology. She also supports Medicare for everyone, free public college, and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All causes that are especially relevant for younger generations and popular issues among young voters.
As an avid user of social media, she uses her various platforms to inform followers and call out politicians including the president, recently tweeting about Trump’s behavior regarding his alleged sexual assault.
With more than five million followers on Twitter and almost four million on Instagram, she’s become one of – if not the – most popular House member on social.
But in addition to her government takedowns and fact-checking tweets, she’s also loud and proud when it comes to her Latinidad and her style.
“Lip+hoops were inspired by Sonia Sotomayor, who was advised to wear neutral-colored nail polish to her confirmation hearings to avoid scrutiny. She kept her red. Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman,” she tweeted earlier this year.
AOC, along with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib then formed what’s now known as “The Squad” in response. Today they have become a fixture of the power of women of color in politics. All four were elected to the House last year, making Congress the most diverse it’s ever been in U.S. history.
“AOC shows kids of all races and genders that they are never too young to speak up, take action, and make a change in their community,” Wilson told Romper.
Wilson isn’t the first writer to want to share AOC’s story, in May Devil’s Due Comics released a special issue called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Forcefeaturing her taking on the Republicans in various scenarios. Volume II features “The Squad” and comes out in December of this year.
“The ABCs of AOC” Illustrator Quiles, also from the Bronx, notes that wherever you land in the political spectrum, AOC’s fierce spirit and audacious goals are admirable either way.
“Regardless of political stance, AOC has tenacity, grit, and pride — qualities that should be passed on to our children and are reminders for our adult selves,” she told Romper. “As a woman born in The Bronx of Puerto Rican heritage, I think about all the kids living off the last stops of the 1,2,4,5,6 and D lines that can look up and see someone like AOC fighting for everything she believes in. It gives me hope for a brighter future.”
In a political climate that’s marginalizing women, immigrants, and people of color, AOC’s anti-establishment stance is now going to inspire younger generations, especially children of color, to realize they too can make history and fight for their beliefs.