There is an inspiring story behind Sulwe, the new children book by Oscar award-winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o.
Sulwe tells the story of a young black girl who doesn’t think she is beautiful. Lupita Nyong’o told Good Morning America that the inspiration to write this book came from her childhood and how she felt about her skin color while growing up. She added that as a young child,seeing people with light skin on TV and in books afected her self esteem.
In Lupita’s book, Sulwe wants a lighter complexion, but then eventually goes on a journey to self love and recognizing her own unique beauty.
It made me feel uncomfortable with my skin colour. I realized that it was in the omission of those words when it came to me, that made me feel unworthy and so it took a while for me to find my stride and learn to love the skin I’m in.
I wrote this book to help little kids get there a little faster
Lupita Nyong’o also said that while growing up, she admired books like Cinderella and Rapunzel where the main characters often had light skin and blonde hair.
I thought that in order to make it into the pages of books, you had to be light,” she said. “In fact, one of the first times I drew my family, I drew them with light skin. I used the cream-colored crayons and not the dark ones because I just didn’t see that in books. I didn’t think we belonged in books.
It would interest you to know that Lupita was inspired to write this book following her role in Black Panther.
Black Panther was a movie that was imaginative… it dealt with some really serious issues but in a fly and fun way and so that’s when I had my ah-ha moment and I was like, ‘Yes, this is the way I would like colorism to be experienced. I want for kids to love the book when their younger, and then grow up to understand it later.