From Lupita Nyong’o’s Vogue Cover 

By  |  0 Comments

Nair wanted her to play Phiona’s mother, Harriet.

“Five pages in I wrote my manager and agent with the words ‘I must do this film,’ ” says Lupita.

“Lupita employs a powerful intellect in her work and makes very deep, very intricate choices. And she’s just relentless in her pursuit of authenticity and specificity of the character,” says Gurira, who is an actress (The Walking Dead)

The director of 12 Years a Slave, artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen, who continues to be a guiding voice for her, told her, “You have to go right back to the beginning, to when you saw your first film or dressed up, and remind yourself what the purpose is, why you got into the profession, because you get seduced by the obvious.” And so Lupita harnessed her newly minted Oscar power to bring Eclipsed to the stage.

She didn’t set out with a mission to tell these African stories, Lupita says. It happened organically. “Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice,” she says, searching for the right words, “I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful.”

Ground breaking is a rough process. It bruises even the toughest.

There’s a silence. “I cannot run away from who I am and my complexion or the larger society and how they may view that. I realize that with what I shared at the Essence awards.”

The European sense of beauty affects us all,” she says abruptly. “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. 

“Alek Wek changed how dark people saw themselves. That I could do the same in a way for somebody somewhere is amazing,” Lupita says.

“There is no point in getting your picture taken if it doesn’t move somebody.” Her eyes widen. “Right?”

“I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to do that.

“I can’t tell you how much I laughed and cried out loud reading your book,” she wrote Adichie. “As an African actress looking to develop great projects, I am always searching for characters who are full of life, complicated and indelible in their pursuits and in their needs.”

“I am definitely at a point where I feel like taking charge of what I want to make.”