Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has revealed how she was once told she was “too dark” to appear on TV.
The Us star revealed the incident during an appearance on BBC Newsnight, where she discussed the issue of colourism in film and TV.
“I once auditioned for something on TV and I was told I was too dark to be on television,” she explained.
When asked about the success of Black Panther, Nyong’o expressed her hope the film has changed the ways that black stars are cast in major roles.
“I think time will tell whether this has been that pivotal shift. It definitely feels that way,” she said.
"I was told I was too dark to be on television"
– actor Lupita Nyong'o tells #Newsnighthttps://t.co/XN2S1LEG5J
[Tap to expand]@Lupita_Nyongo | @maitlis | #Sulwe | #colorism pic.twitter.com/XEu9NrJRum
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) October 8, 2019
Further reflecting on colourism, she described it as “the daughter of racism”.
“We still ascribe to these notions of Eurocentric standards of beauty, that then affect how we see ourselves among ourselves,” she explained.
“Race is a very social construct, one that I didn’t have to ascribe to on a daily basis growing up. As much as I was experiencing colourism in Kenya, I wasn’t aware that I belonged to a race called black.”
It comes ahead of Nyong’o’s new children’s book ‘Sulwe’ – which examines the role of a young girl growing up with darker skin than the rest of her family.
She’ll next appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, reprising the role of Maz Kanata.