Lupita Nyong’o: I grew up wishing my skin colour was different

Award-winning Kenyan Hollywood export Lupita Nyong’o has admitted to suffering self esteem issues as a child due to the colour of her skin.

Lupita, speaking during an interview with BBC’s Newsnight ahead of the release of her children’s book ‘Sulwe’, stated that she grew up uncomfortable with her skin colour and at some point even “wished to have skin that was different.”

The Black Panther and 12 Years a Slave actress, while speaking about colourism, said her younger sister was treated differently and was even called “beautiful” and “pretty” due to her lighter skin tone.

“Self-consciously that translates into: ‘I’m not worthy’,” she said.

“I definitely grew up feeling uncomfortable with my skin colour because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin.”

Lupita further likened colourism to racism saying, “We still ascribe to these notions of Eurocentric standards of beauty, that then affect how we see ourselves among ourselves.”

She added: “Race is a very social construct, one that I didn’t have to ascribe to on a daily basis growing up. As much as I was experiencing colourism in Kenya, I wasn’t aware that I belonged to a race called black.”

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