This is what a young girl wrote Lupita Nyong’o, who accepted Essence Magazine’s Best Breakthrough Performance Award last week for the movie 12 Years a Slave. Lupita read some of the letter aloud as a part of her acceptance speech, making the audience cry and setting the media on fire by revealing her own personal struggle to “embrace” dark beauty in Black women.
More specifically, the woman wrote: ” Dear Lupita, I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”
Even though our mothers tell us we’re beautiful, often we don’t believe it until someone like Lupita is recognized as beautiful. “The gate keepers of beauty,” as Lupita says, are the ones we believe. Last year at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, Kelly Rowland confessed that she didn’t “embrace” her “chocolatiness” until Beyonce’s mom sat her down and talked to her. This got people talking, too.
We know beauty is more than skin deep and black women like Michelle Obama have inspired us. We, like Michelle, Kelly, and Lupita, have to face the onslaught of derogatory messages by those who don’t appreciate our beauty. How Mrs Obama endures comments like Michelle “My Butt” Obama or “Moo-chelle” with grace and class may be beyond most of us.
But, to be surrounded by the Lupitas, Kellys and Michelles must be enough to give us wisdom, courage, and strength to make our own marks in the world for others like us to follow.
Keep it sexy!
Keep it healthy!