Lupita Nyong’o: I Go After Roles I Didn’t See Growing Up

- By Bossip Staff

Lupita Nyong’o Stars In Disney’s “Queen Of Katwe” Out Sept. 23

She’s earned critical acclaim playing women of color in “12 Years A Slave” and in the Broadway play, “Eclipsed.”

Lupita Nyong’o said she didn’t plan on portraying complex black women, but is subconsciously drawn to roles that she never saw as a child.

“I’ve been asked a few times whether it was my master plan to do to play African women back to back,” the Academy Award winner said over the weekend in Washington, DC at the National Association of Black and Hispanic Journalists convention.

“Those weren’t conscious decisions. In hindsight, I’ve been attracted to these roles for one because I didn’t see them growing up. I think it’s so important to have mirrors of yourself.”

queen of katwe

Nyong’o was in DC for a talkback following a screening of her new movie, Disney’s “Queen of Katwe,” the story of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl from the slums who becomes a chess phenom and uses her natural talent for the game to uplift herself and her family. The film stars Nyong’o as Harriet, Phiona’s mother and “Selma’s” David Oyelowo as her chess coach.

The Oscar winner – who said she encountered colorism at school and on TV as a kid – said she wants TV and movies to be more reflective of the way the world really is.

“That’s the point of TV and film and popular culture,” Nyong’o added. “It’s our way of interacting with ourselves and the larger world. And so when you don’t have those images of yourself, the world is lopsided, and you end up having more identity crises than is necessary. That’s why I feel subconsciously I have been attracted to these women.”

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