Lupita Nyong’o put her haters to shame (once again) when she announced that she will be cast in the upcoming Star Wars film. This news is a welcome addition to spectators who were unsure what the mainstream media would do with the woman who is singlehandedly revolutionizing beauty standards in Hollywood.
Ever since co-starring in the highly acclaimed 12 Years a Slave, critics opined that Lupita would be cast aside as an anomaly; a one-hit wonder who would fade into obscurity after a specious 15-minutes.
But Lupita is back and stronger than ever, landing a coveted role in a blockbuster series.
It begs the question … why were some so willing to downplay Lupita’s career trajectory? Why were some so quick to smear her accomplishments in pessimism?
It’s understandable why some were cautious; Hollywood is notorious for hastily sidestepping women of color. And Lupita was never positioned to become the media darling that she currently is. Her fame (in the eyes of the mainstream) was a fluke; it was only after people of color rallied behind her did the mainstream take notice. So yes, I get why some were hesitant to embrace her auspicious future in light of Hollywood’s track record.
But there were others who seemed to revel in her prospective failure. There were some who (dare I say it) welcomed the possibility that she would no longer grace the covers of magazines. This brand of misfortune is rooted in self-hate.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that there can only be one person of color who succeeds. The tokenization of the Black body is an old school trick used to create tension, jealousy, and mistrust within communities of color. Especially Black communities. Remnants of this mentality has trickled down to today and manifests itself into those people of color who wish failure upon the brilliant Lupita.
Granted, most Lupita hate is quickly silenced by those of us who are stronger than our oppressors would allow us to believe. We share her content, and regularly tweet or post words of approval on her behalf. We are not silent about our relief that she shines vibrantly in a sector once closed off to us.
So, my fellow Lupita lovers, continue spreading her good will, her hearty laughter, and her unique grace. She already faces an uphill battle by nature of meager roles; we need not add to the obstacles that she’ll inherently face. Instead, we are charged with helping her over come them.
In the meantime, tickle your heart with this clip from Sesame Street, Mexico addition!