Whether directly or inadvertently, actor, Lupita Nyong’o changed the conversation on Black skin in Hollywood. In an industry so influenced by physical appearance and governed by unyielding perceptions of beauty (especially for women), the emergence of a dark-skinned Black woman being admired and considered beautiful was something particularly worthy of note.
For that reason, much of the discussions around colourism in Hollywood still have Lupita right at the centre of it. In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey on a primetime special, “OWN Spotlight: Oprah At Home with Lupita Nyong’o and Cynthia Erivo”, the actor, who has been named one of the most powerful black women in film, speaks up about how much Black skin is still misunderstood in the industry.
“I recently had a makeup artist say to me, Oh, well, you know, your skin can take anything; it’s so tough. I [actually] have very sensitive skin!,” she said. “It’s [Black skin] just misunderstood. That then plays itself out in so many different ways.”
Nyong’o believes that real change will only come when we see more women of colour in positions of power, in filmmaking.
“The more dark-skinned women that are present and working, the better. I think it’s about there being a change in the demographic behind the camera, as well. That’s how things will truly change.”