Lupita Nyong’o stays winning for the dark skin girls, and I am always here for it. As a fellow dark skin woman who had to learn, only recently, that being in the skin I am is absolutely fabulous, Lupita gracing the covers of magazines makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
And I’m sure it makes her happy, too. Women our age didn’t grow up seeing women and girls who look like us serving as representations of beauty. Therefore, I’m sure it’s safe to assume Lupita was proud to be invited to cover Grazia magazine. Unfortunately, her feature in the magazine didn’t quite meet her expectations.
Lupita tweeted the following message to the magazine last night.
— Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo) November 10, 2017
According to Lupita, the magazine edited her fro’ pony to make her look more European:
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
Grazia UK told The Telegraph:
“Grazia is committed to representing diversity throughout its pages and apologises unreservedly to Lupita Nyong’o. 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 apologise unreservedly for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that that we were aware of all alterations that had been made.”
Listen, like I said, I love Lupita, and she has every right to not like her photo. But do I, for a second, see what she’s seeing? Not really. What I see in the edited version is a more sleek and “high fashion” look. That low ponytail wasn’t doing her any favors, and would have been more suitable for a sports ad. There are people who simply look better without hair, and Lupita, in my opinion, is one of them.
I will, admit, however, that I sometimes have a hard time making certain leaps when it comes to how white folks see us. I do photoshoots once or twice a month, and sometimes I make decisions about my hair and makeup simply because it goes wit the creative direction of the photoshoot. Now, of course, I make these decisions myself, so Lupita is spot on in being angry that they made the call without her permission. But my creative eye simply cannot see that the photo without the hair as being meant to make her appeal to a European audience. But I am not European so I can’t say that I can always accurately judge how they perceive us.
Some of m y readers offered the perspective that by removing the ponytail Lupita was made fit into the “bald head” African fetish look they seem to like.
I don’t know, y’all. If Lupita had been rocking a full fro in all of it’ glory and they removed it entirely, I could see it, but this one is hard for me.
Still, I stand with Lupita in being upset that they did not seek out her consent before altering her photo.
What say you? Is Lupita Reaching on this or nah?