Lupita Nyong’o has released a new children’s book that she hopes will serve as a ‘mirror’ for dark-skinned children who don’t often see images of themselves in mainstream media.
In a lengthy post on social media, Nyong’o shared her own experiences with colorism discrimination is why she wrote, “Sulwe,” which means ‘star.’
The Academy Award-winning actress said Sulwe is designed to hold a “mirror for dark-skinned children especially, to see themselves reflected, immediately.”
She added, “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”, Nyong’o wrote.
Nyong’o took to Instagram in early 2018 to announce “Sulwe,” which is aimed at readers between the ages of 5 and 7.
“I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children’s book! It’s called “Sulwe”!” she said in a statement at the time. “Sulwe is a dark skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure, and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.”
“Sulwe” will be released on October 15.
Read Lupita’s full IG post about her inspiration behind the book below:
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.
According to publisher Simon and Schuster’s website, Sulwe is a picture book addressing colorism and self-esteem, aimed to teach young Black girls that true beauty comes from within.