Hollywood: What Will You Do With(out) Lupita?

We’re completely obsessed with Lupita Nyong’o, for good reason. She is a welcome addition to the Hollywood elite. She is able to blend seductive sexiness with a refined elegance that has been lacking in the celebrity netherworld as of late. A gifted actress with a flair for fashion, Lupita is quickly skyrocketing to unrivaled levels of success.

Lupita stars in Vogue Italia. Photographs by Tom Munro

Lupita stars in Vogue Italia. Photographs by Tom Munro

Will Lupita continue to revolutionize the celebrity world as we know it? Hopefully so. Hollywood is notoriously image-crazy, and will quickly hop on whatever bandwagon is most popular. And as more Black Americans are propelling a sluggish consumer base, Hollywood executives are looking for the next celebrity to capture a disinterested audience.

Enter Lupita, who has sparked excitement throughout the entertainment industry. A breath of fresh air, Lupita is awakening the stalled “Black is beautiful” mantra. Her rich dark skin glows gorgeously with vibrant colors, and the fullness of her features invite an enticing lushness emblematic of a natural beauty.

Beauty editors and fashion houses recognize her intrinsic grace. Top fashion designers are racing to dress her in their high-end collections. Lupita is the new go-to woman for top designers hoping to further advance their profitable brands.

Lupita headlines Mui Mui Spring 2014 collection

Lupita headlines Mui Mui Spring 2014 collection

But what’s next? Will Hollywood continue to foster her auspicious career, or will she be tossed aside as our interests move elsewhere? Will she eventually become a vacant memory; a blip in the status quo? Hollywood hardly does well with Black actors, especially women. We are mostly confined to the reality TV realm where self respect goes to die. Lupita is a respectable woman; an intelligent female who takes her craft very seriously. In order for her to continue on such a prolific path, her fellow acting comrades have to endorse her.

Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore are doing just that; Lupita will be co-starring with them in Non-Stop, an action flick.

Lupita is very much aware of her precarious standing within the grotesquely competitive Hollywood elite. She knows that she will be quickly tossed aside if she doesn’t deliver profits. Blond hair and blue eyes will always sell because that image is the universal standard for prime beauty. Dark skin, short hair, full lips, and high cheekbones is not. And while natural look is accepted as “edgy” or “exotic” in fashion circles, to civilian moviegoers, the look can be deemed “intimidating” or “unordinary.”

Lupita, I’m sure, knows that the cards are not stacked in her favor, but her relentless perseverance through the thicket is more than admirable. Starring in an action film is the first solid step towards her goal of crossover appeal.

And as Black Americans, we must continue to support her. A number of Black blogs constantly push her to their audiences. We must continue to do so, as Facebook likes eventually translate to US dollars.

Black Americans, especially women, do not have many positive celebrities to look up to. Sure, we can claim Beyoncé, but whitewashing makes such a proclamation difficult. Perhaps savvy businesswoman Mona Scott Young can be our icon, although her negative portrayal of people of color on Love & Hip Hop causes pause. Our sole rallying point is Kerry Washington, who has been grinding in the entertainment industry for decades before she got any recognition.

Lupita is a new dimension within the archaic confines of the entertainment industry. She proffers social commentary about colorism and body image. She challenges accepted notions of beauty, while conveying the calm demeanor of a young diligent woman, politely aware of her breathtaking beauty. A beauty that encompasses millions of Black woman who have been thoroughly ignored throughout history.

Another stunning shot from Vogue Italia

Another stunning shot from Vogue Italia

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