Expressing Your Black Girl Magic: Lupita Nyong'o

Expressing Your Black Girl Magic: Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyongo.jpg

This Kenyan beauty has a very striking uniqueness which seems to charm audiences and fans everywhere she appears. She epitomizes black girl magic.

Every girl would love to live like a princess and have a life filled with adventures. Its almost undeniable that the melanin goddess, Lupita Nyong’o, is a legend both on screen and in everyday life. Her resourcefulness and flexibility truly know no bounds. From playing lead roles in numerous blockbuster movies, fluently speaking four languages including Spanish and writing a book. Her versatile adventures and experiences are the wish list items of the world’s greatest. This piece shows how to express your black girl magic with some vital lessons from Lupita’s life.

1.) Rise Above The Circumstances Of Your Past

The first step to expressing your black girl magic is committing to achieving your goals, irrespective of the circumstances.

Born on March 1, 1983, in Mexico City, her parents, Dorothy and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o christened her Lupita Amondi Nyong'o. Being a tradition of the Luo people (same tribe as the former POTUS, Barack Obama) to name a child after the events of the day, her parents gave her a Spanish name, Lupita. She is of Luo ancestry on both sides of her family and is the second of six children. At the time of her birth, her father was a visiting lecturer in political science at El Colegio de México in Mexico City. Her family had been living in Mexico for three years, as they were in political exile. They were able to return to their homeland of Kenya during their daughter's childhood when her father was appointed a professor at the University of Nairobi.

Nyong’o grew up mostly in Nairobi, and describes her upbringing as "middle class, suburban", growing up in a creative family, where family get-togethers often included performances by the children in the family and trips to see plays. At age 14, Nyong’o made her professional acting debut as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet in a production by the Nairobi-based repertory company Phoenix Players. While a member of the Phoenix Players, she performed in the plays “On The Razzle” and “There Goes the Bride”. She also quotes the performances of American actresses Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg whose lives expressed the black girl magic in the movie “The Color Purple” inspiring her to follow a professional acting career.

Lupita’s family had to leave Kenya later on due to the unrest and political instability at the time.

2.) Acquire Knowledge Relevant to Your Desired Future

When Nyong’o was 16, her parents sent her to Mexico for seven months to learn Spanish. During those seven months, she took classes at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México's Learning Center for Foreigners. Nyong’o gained admission into St. Mary’s School in Nairobi, where she received an IB Diploma in 2001 before attending college in the United States. She went to study film at Hampshire College in the US, to study film and theatre studies. Nyong’o went on to sign up herself in a master’s degree program in acting at the Yale School of Drama in 2009. While at Yale, she won the Herschel Williams Prize for “acting students with outstanding ability” during the 2011–12 academic year.

Knowledge is the path that connects where you are to your desired future. It is a basic requirement to turn on your black girl magic. Lupita Nyong’o with access to education and an appetite for acting, further fueled this passion deliberate learning in this field.

3.) Go All In!

While at Yale, Lupita appeared in many stage productions, including Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, and William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale. Immediately after graduating from Yale, Nyong’o landed her breakthrough role when she was cast for Steve McQueen’s historical drama 12 Years a Slave (2013).

She continued her career working as part of the production crew for several films, including Fernando Meirelles’s The Constant Gardener (2005), Mira Nair’s The Namesake (2006) and Salvatore Stabile’s Where God Left His Shoes (2007).

In 2008, Nyong’o starred in the short film “East River” shot in Brooklyn, later in the year she featured in the Kenyan television series Shuga, - an MTV Base Africa/UNICEF drama about HIV/AIDS prevention. In the year 2009, she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In My Genes, about the discriminatory treatment of Kenya’s albino population. which played at several film festivals and won first prize at the 2008 Five College Film Festival. Nyong’o also directed the music video The Little Things You Do by Wahu, featuring Bobi Wine, which was nominated for the Best Video Award at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009.

Pour every last drop of yourself into whatever future you desire. Hard work is the main recipe expressing for making your black girl magic.

4.) Continue To Grow, Even When Your Success Is Beyond Doubts

Even in the face of recognition, Nyong’o keeps putting in even greater work which has seen her win and nominated for several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and two Screen Actors Guild Awards including Best Supporting Actress, which she won. She was also awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the sixth black actress to win the award, the first African actress to win the award, the first Kenyan actress to win an Oscar, and the first Mexican to win the award. She also became the fifteenth actress to win an Oscar for a debut performance in a feature film.

Following supporting roles in the action-thriller Non-Stop (2014), Nyong’o co-starred in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) as force sensitive-space pirate Maz Kanata, a CGI character created using motion capture technology. Scott Mendelson of Forbes found Nyong’o’s role as “the center of the film’s best sequence,” and Stephanie Zacharek of Time called her a “delightful minor character”. Nyong’o was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress at the 42nd Saturn Awards and Best Virtual Performance at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards for her role.

Her performance in the 2015 movie “Eclipse” was met with critical acclaim. The New York Times critic Charles Isherwood called Nyong’o “one of the most radiant young actors to be seen on Broadway in recent seasons, shines with a compassion that makes us see beyond the suffering to the indomitable humanity of its characters.” Nyong’o’s performance in Eclipsed earned her a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance, an Obie Award for a Distinguished Performance by an Ensemble, and a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. In addition, she was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Play at the Outer Critics Circle Award and a Distinguished Performance Award at the Drama League Award.

Her epic role in Black Panther (which as a black person, you are bound to love) shot her light years ahead of her colleagues. She played the role of Nakia, the ex-lover of the Black Panther, King T’Challa. Her delivery was so superb and she again won the hearts of many fans through her loyalty to Wakanda. The movie went ahead to sweep so many awards and rake in millions at the box office.

This woman has done it all and seen it all. And yes, she makes us all believe in black girl magic. You must find creative ways to express it!

About the Author

Max G.

Max takes a deep interest in the areas of Finance, Agriculture, and Technology. However, he enjoys writing because writing to him is an emotional journey. He believes in the future of Africa and hopes to connect you to the continent by bringing you the best expressive pieces.

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