Lupita Nyong’o was told she was 'too dark' for TV

Gregory WakemanContributor
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Lupita Nyong'o attends the New York premiere of "Little Monsters" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on October 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Lupita Nyong'o attends the New York premiere of "Little Monsters" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on October 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has revealed that she was once told that she was “too dark” for a television show.

Nyong’o, who picked up the Best Supporting Actress gong for her performance in 12 Years A Slave, made this depressing revelation during her recent appearance on BBC Newsnight, where she opened up about colourism in film and television.

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During this discussion she recalled, “I once auditioned for something on TV and I was told I was too dark to be on television.” Nyong’o, who appeared in Black Panther as Nakia, is hopeful that the mega Marvel hit has altered approaches in Hollywood and has opened doors for black actors. “I think time will tell whether this has been that pivotal shift. It definitely feels that way.”

Actor Lupita Nyong'o attends the "Us" premiere at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Actor Lupita Nyong'o attends the "Us" premiere at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Away from the film business, Nyong’o also opened about how her younger sister, who is “a lot lighter,” was repeatedly “called pretty and beautiful” and was “praised for the lightness of her skin in a way that [Nyong’o] doesn’t recall being praised for the darkness” in hers.

“We still ascribe to these notions of Eurocentric standards of beauty, that then affect how we see ourselves among ourselves,” continued Nyong’o, who described colourism as the “daughter of racism.”

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You can watch Lupita Nyong’o’s appearance on Newsnight below.

Nyong’o’s new children’s book Sulwe revolves around a young girl who grows up with darker skin than the other members of her family.

She will also reprise her role as Max Kanata in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker when it hits cinemas on December 20, while if there’s any justice in the cinematic world then Nyong’o will be very much in the discussion for numerous Best Actress gongs during the upcoming Awards Season for her incredible turn in Jordan Peele’s Us, too.

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