Lupita Nyong'o Admits Complexion Issues At 'Essence' Luncheon

Lupita Nyong’o Gives Emotional Speech About Her Complexion & Beauty At ‘Essence’ Luncheon

lupita nyongo essence women in hollywood luncheon 2014 white crop topPhoto: MediaPunch/WENN; FayesVision/WENN

Essence Magazine held their annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon yesterday, February 27, at the Beverly Hills hotel to celebrate professionals making waves in entertainment. So it goes without saying that the toast of 2014 and Hollywood’s newest darling Lupita Nyong’o was in attendance.

The actress wore a white crop top and pencil skirt set by Giambattista Valli that popped against her dark skin. Ironically enough, it is Lupita’s skin that is making the most headlines regarding her presence at the yearly luncheon.

According to MSN, in an emotional acceptance speech for her ‘best breakout performance’ honor, Lupita explained that her complexion had been an obstacle for her as a young girl.

“I got teased and taunted about my skin,” Nyong’o began in front of the ballroom of guests. “My one prayer to God 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 the mirror because I wanted to see my face first. Every day I would feel the disappointment of being just as dark as the day before.”

It wasn’t until Alek Wek’s breakout modeling career that the actress started feeling more comfortable about her dark complexion.

“My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful. 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,” she explained.

Finding self-confidence and assurance in the Sudanese-British beauty’s place in fashion and the media is also an experience that media mogul Oprah Winfrey has shared in the past. We can’t imagine how many girls and women will find inspiration in Lupita Nyongo’s presence in Hollywood.

Lupita continued with encouraging words for young girls who she hopes are inspired by her success as she was with Alek Wek’s, though she also stressed the importance for them to find beauty within themselves.

Coincidentally, the issue of complexion and color recently came up over Pharrell’s controversial new album cover for “GIRL.” The rapper, producer was criticized for not casting a black woman for the album art. He responded expressing his disappointment over the backlash and informing audiences that one of the women is in fact Black.

Both Lupita and Pharrell’s words are a reminder to everyone that Black skin varies as widely as each person, and is always beautiful. That’s something we would do well to not overlook or discount.