Lupita Nyong'o raps, talks 'Sulwe' and self-love on 'Tonight Show'
UPI News Service, 10/08/2019
Lupita Nyong'o says her book, Sulwe, reflects her journey to self-love.
The 36-year-old Kenyan-Mexican actress discussed the new children's book and its message during Monday's episode of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
Nyong'o described Sulwe as "a liberal autobiography" that captures her struggle with colorism, or a form of prejudice or discrimination based on skin tone and usually from members of the same race.
"It's about this girl called Sulwe -- Sulwe means "star" in my mother tongue, Dholuo," she said. "She's born the darkest in her family and the darkest in her school. She's very uncomfortable with her skin and wants to go about changing it. But then, a magical night through the night sky changes her mind and she learns how to love herself."
Nyong'o put her own experiences in the book, including the nightly prayers she would say as a child for lighter skin.
"I would pray to God every night for lighter skin, because my mom told me God performs miracles. I thought, 'Oh, here's one for me. Give me some light skin,'" the star recalled.
"I had a younger sister who's much lighter," she said. "Every morning I'd wake up and run to the mirror and see whether he'd answered my prayer, and I'd always be so disappointed."
Nyong'o said Sulwe is a "mirror" for dark-skinned girls to be seen and a "window" for people who don't know about colorism to learn more.
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"It's a mirror for dark-skinned girls to see themselves, specifically because I didn't have that growing up. I wanted to kind of use the pain that I felt, for it to be my weapon, my gift," she said. "But also for other people who might not know, I hope this book is a window into understanding what people that may not be like you can go through. Ultimately, the message is that the most important thing is to love yourself before anything else."
Later on in the show, Nyong'o name-dropped Sulwe and celebrity couple Beyonce and Jay Z while rapping as her alter-ego, Troublemaker.
"For the first time, Troublemaker came out to play with Jimmy & The Roots!" she tweeted.
Nyong'o played Nakia in Black Panther and will reprise Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which opens in theaters Dec. 20. She will release Sulwe on Oct. 15.
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