“I Tried To Negotiate With God”: Lupita Nyong’o Reveals She Prayed For Lighter Skin As A Child

lupita-nyongo-lipstick-w724Recently, Lupita Nyong’o has caught our attention with her stunning looks and chilling performance in 12 Years A Slave. Although she has become the new fashion icon of our time, Nyong’o revealed there was a time she didn’t always feel beautiful.

On Thursday, Essence Magazine honored Nyong’o at their Black Women in Hollywood luncheon. Upon her accepting Essence’s Best Breakthrough Performance Award, Nyong’o moved the audience to tears. In her speech, Nyong’o spoke about her self-esteem. She admitted that, as a child,  she prayed that God would lighten her skin.

In her speech, Lupita shared:

“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.  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.”

Nyong’o continued to unveil how her mother and images of Sudanese supermodel, Alek Wek helped increased her confidence.

“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.”

Nyong’o’s speech was dedicated to a fan who wrote to her about not feeling comfortable in her skin. The fan told Lupita she was on the verge of purchasing singer Dencia’s skin bleaching product, Whitenicious. It was until Nyong’o started to receive more press, the fan opted out of the choice to bleach her skin. In the letter, the woman wrote:

“Dear Lupita, 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.”

I hear Dencia didn’t have anything pretty to say about all this. lol. Didn’t suppose she would.

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