Lupita Nyong’o hopes her new book will inspire girls of color to love the skin they’re born with. Nyong’o’s new book, Sulwe, will be released two weeks from now and the Kenyan-Mexican actress informed her fans about this by sharing a photo of her 5-year-old self.
The title, which means “star” in Nyongo’s native Luo, is about a young girl named Sulwe’s heartwarming self-discovery on what makes her beautiful and unique.
According to the publisher Simon & Schuster, the book’s description reads:
“Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.”
While written for children, beneath the surface of Academy Award winner’s picture book is a moving story about helping girls like her find confidence in spite of colorism, a form of prejudice or discrimination that uplifts lighter skin complexions over those with darker skin.
In a candid Instagram post about her book, Nyong’o reflected on her feelings when she read books but couldn’t see black characters that looked like her. The 36-year-old diva said Sulwe is to serve as a mirror for dark-skinned girls to see characters that look like them and to tackle colorism.
”This is 5-year-old me. I reflected on this little girl’s feelings and fantasies when I decided to write my children’s book, #Sulwe. With this book, I wanted to hold up a mirror for her. Here’s why:
As a little girl reading, I had all of these windows into the lives of people who looked nothing like me, chances to look into their worlds, but I didn’t have any mirrors.
While windows help us develop empathy and an understanding of the wider world, mirrors help us develop our sense of self, and our understanding of our own world. They ground us in our body and our experiences.
#Sulwe holds up a mirror for dark-skinned children especially, to see themselves reflected immediately, and it is a window for all the others to cherish peering into.
Colorism, society’s preference for lighter skin, is alive and well. It’s not just a prejudice reserved for places with a largely white population. Throughout the world, even in Kenya, even today, there is a popular sentiment that lighter is brighter.
I imagined what it would have been like for this little girl to turn the pages of her picture books and see more dark skin in a beautiful light. This book is my dream come true for kids like her today. #Sulwearrives October 15. ?”