Lupita Nyong’o is a force to be reckoned with. She is an actress and director, who surged to fame after her role in 12 Years A Slave in 2013. After that, the Kenyan-Mexican actress has landed several amazing movies roles and has gone to win at the Oscars and Golden Globes. She is an advocate for having better roles in movies for people of color and the betterment of the black community as a whole. So you can see why she would get upset at the fact that a magazine decided to Photoshop her hair. Check out her personal tweet from last night:
— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) November 10, 2017
Grazia UK had invited Nyong’o to be on the cover of their magazine for the November 2017 issue. However when the official issue was released Nyong’o was disappointed that the magazine had decided to alter her African American hair to “fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like”. Ouch. In the Twitter post Nyong’o puts pictures of the cover and the original photos side by side so her followers can see what she is talking about. She goes more in depth on her Instagram account stating: “As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too”. We think so too Lupita!
As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh
According to E! News, a rep for Grazia U.K. told E! in a statement Friday: “Grazia magazine would like to make it clear that at no point did they make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita Nyong’o’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves. But we apologies unreservedly for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that that we were aware of all alterations that had been made.” Here is our problem with this apology: had Lupita said nothing, the magazine wouldn’t have done anything to correct it. It is an apology that stems out of saving face rather then genuine shame.
IndieWire in article stated how Nyong’o is not the first actress of color to call out a magazine for a photoshopped cover. “‘Scandal’ star Kerry Washington made headlines in April 2016 when she put on Instagram her April cover for AdWeek and wrote, ‘I was taken aback by the cover… It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror'”. More and more women of color in the beauty industry are starting to call out magazines on their BS, and if we want change we gotta take action ourselves. We are in the 21st century, yet sometimes we are completely shocked by how ancient and downright racist the industry still is. This is not only another case of photoshopping without permission, this is a social issue about how what is beautiful is judged by the color of your skin. We stand with Lupita and hope that this is a wake up call to industry leaders.