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Lupita Nyong'o's Speech From Essence's Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon Will Touch Your Soul!!

| Filed under: Film FlickersFashion SmashionBeauty BuzzAwardzRed CarpetGiambattista ValliElie SaabSkinLupita Nyong'o

Be deeply moved by Lupita Nyoung'o\'s \

Beauty and brains!!

Lupita Nyong’o was not only the picture of gorgeousness at Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon — she also delivered an EXTREMELY eloquent speech!

Her topic of the night was one of our favorites: beauty.

But specifically, she honed in on the concept of "Black beauty" in the fashion and entertainment industries!!

As she accepted her Best Breakthrough Performance Award in a white-hot Giambattista Valli outfit (styled with Sophia Webster pumps, Neil Lane jewelry, and an Elie Saab clutch), the actress recalled her struggle with self-image as a youth.

Find out why one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood once found it hard to accept her own skin …AFTER THE JUMP!!!

I wrote down this speech that I had no time to practice so this will be the practicing session. Thank you Alfre, for such an amazing, amazing introduction and celebration of my work. And thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of such an extraordinary community. I am surrounded by people who have inspired me, women in particular whose presence on screen made me feel a little more seen and heard and understood. That it is ESSENCE that holds this event celebrating our professional gains of the year is significant, a beauty magazine that recognizes the beauty that we not just possess but also produce.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, Black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: "Dear Lupita," it reads, "I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me."

My heart bled a little when I read those words, I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before. I tried to negotiate with God, I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother's every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But around me the preference for my skin prevailed, to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.

There is no shame in Black beauty.

This girl is the whole package!!

See more photos from the event (below)!

[Image via WENN.]

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7 comments to “Lupita Nyong'o's Speech From Essence's Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon Will Touch Your Soul!!”

  1. Lady Helen Highwater says – reply to this


    1

    Oh Pleeeze
    She is wearing an outfit made by a high school student, using a simplicity pattern
    and Singer sewing machine

  2. jj says – reply to this


    2


  3. 3

    @LOise, you make $27h thats great going girl good for you! My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online, seriously I couldn't be happier I work when I want and where I want. And with a little effort I easily bring in $35h and sometimes even as much as $85h…heres a good example of what i'm doing……. CASHSFLOW.COM



  4. 4

    Im making over $8k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do……. CASHSFLOW.COM

  5. Rf says – reply to this


    5

    Her acceptance speeches seem too rehearsed; and when she does not win she looks very upset and disappointed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Sean says – reply to this


    6

    As I watched her eloquent and deeply vulnerable speech, in which she clearly stated that, even in Kenya, "lighter" is better and women routinely use skin-lighteners, the camera panned the audience of women who seemed enrapt. Yet, every one of them have "succumbed to the seduction of being inadequate" with their straightened hair, lightened skin and facial surgery. Where was Beyonce in all this? the most celebrated "Black" US singer is routinely shown as a blond and her skin seems remarkably lighter than in her girlhood years.

  7. Sonia says – reply to this


    7

    Beautiful speech from a beautiful woman. I love the light dresses she chooses to accentuate her skin. I hope some more roles come her way. Would be great to see her as a leading lady!