Lupita Nyong'o Calls Out Hollywood for Dehumanizing Her Based on the Color of Her Skin

Lupita Nyong'o Criticizes Those Who Dehumanize Her Because of Her Color
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Lupita Nyong'o is Vogue's October cover star, and, as usual, she's keeping it real with her audience.

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In her cover story, Nyong'o talks about how a talent agent asserted that her career would last "two-and-half, three years" because, as they said, "Would Beyoncé be who she is if she didn't look like she does? Being lighter-skinned, more people can look at [Beyoncé's] image and see themselves in her."

Excuuuuse me?

Fortunately, Nyong'o turned a dead ear to this lady's foolishness. 

"She is looking at me as a part of the cultural tapestry," Nyong'o explained. "I am living and breathing. That person is not considering what I had for breakfast, how that is sitting in my stomach and why I didn't do well with that audition."

But as actress Gina Torres commented on back in February, it's very difficult for non-white actresses, especially Afro-Latinas, to make a name for themselves in the industry. 

"When I became an actress I quickly realized that 'the world' liked their Latinas to look Italian, and not like me," she told The Huffington Post.

White-washing women of color portrayals isn't exactly a new concept. It's the reason why the only Puerto Rican actor cast in West Side Story was Rita MorenoIt's the reason why people were upset when Zoe Saldaña, a lighter-skinned Afro-Latina, was cast as Nina Simone. Hollywood decision-makers want to put forth actors and actresses that are "relatable" to a wider (a.k.a. white) audience.

But Nyong'o keeps it pushing and uses this as fuel to keep her going.

"There are certain cards that have been dealt me that I take on," Nyong'o said. "I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I'm fortunate enough to have a platform to do that. That is why [my characters in] 'Eclipsed' and even 'Queen of Katwe' are so important, to change the narrative, offer a new lens on African identity." 

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"I cannot run away from who I am and my complexion or the larger society and how they may view that," Nyong'o added.