In a lengthy Instagram post written by Lupita Nyong’o, the Kenyan actress details her disappointment with Grazia UK for editing out her natural hair for the front cover of the magazine’s November edition.
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As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh
The actress posted the published version of the cover alongside the original image, which features her with a curly ponytail. She expressed her “disappointment” in what she perceives to be an attempt to change her hairstyle “to fit their notion of what beauty looks like.”
The Oscar-winning actress has been a staunch advocate for dark-skinned women– using every opportunity to represent black women as a way to shift perceptions of beauty in Hollywood, and she used the Instagram post to remind her followers of that.
“I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too.”
The actress goes on to say that had she been consulted about what the magazine planned to do with the cover, she wouldn’t have supported the “omission of what is my native heritage”.
The 12-years a slave star is the latest black celebrity to tell a UK magazine not to touch her hair. Last month, Solange Knowles expressed her disdain with the London Evening Standard for removing some of her braids on its front cover.
We support Lupita when she says there’s “still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture.”