Academy Award-winning actress and star of the highly anticipated Black Panther movie, Lupita Nyong’o is set to publish her debut children’s book “Sulwe” with Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers out January 2019.
Nyong’o is sticking to her roots as “Sulwe” means “star” in her native language of Luo. Additionally, in the name of all things lovely and melanin-related the story follows the journey of a 5-year-old girl growing up in Kenya, who has the darkest complexion of anyone in her family; which makes her uncomfortable and intent on finding a way to lighten her skin. After talking to her mother and taking a journey in the night, Sulwe helps to recognize her beauty.
Over the years, the 12 Years a Slave actress has been very vocal about her own personal journey with acceptance of her skin complexion and has even called out Grazia Magazine for photoshopping out her natural kinky hair on its cover. Nyong’o hopes the book will plant a seed in a child’s mind and allow for later lessons that children “don’t necessarily recognize when they are reading the books,” Nyong’o said to The New York Times.
Reading with her mother was critical in her development and journey to self-acceptance, says Nyong’o. Her own issues with her complexion began as she realized people describe her lighter-skinned sister as “pretty and brown.”
In a 2014 speech, Nyong’o addressed her insecurities about her darker skin complexion and delivered a memorable speech about the importance of representation in Hollywood and beyond. Most importantly, she cited a fan who decided against whitening her skin after seeing Nyong’o’s success.
Skin bleaching and whitening have become more present in recent years as fans have called out celebrities like Sammy Sosa and Azealia Banks for altering their skin complexion.
Nyong’o hopes to target children aged 5 to 7 years old with her book because “you learn all the things that you spend the rest of your life trying to unlearn” around this time. Ultimately, she wants this to go beyond just her name and help children realize their beauty.
Shoutout to Lupita for spreading more #blackboyjoy and #blackgirlmagic.
I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children’s book! It’s called “Sulwe”! Sulwe is a dark skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure, and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin. Coming January 2019!!