Actress Lupita Nyong’o believes she has a responsibility to promote ethnic diversity in Hollywood as one of the most famous actresses of colour in the world. The 33-year-old actress became the first Kenyan/Mexican star to win an Academy Award when she was chosen as the recipient of the Best Actress Oscar in 2013 for her incredible performance in 12 Years A Slave, a victory which gave her global fame.
Lupita accepts she is a position of power as one of the world’s most prominent actresses of colour and is prepared to use her fame to tackle the lack of opportunities in Hollywood for ethnic stars and women, reported The Guardian.
“Films inspire people to feel differently. A lot more can be done. We can be more empathetic when we realise how much more alike we are than how different we are.”
Asked if she feels as though it is a burden to have to keep talking about diversity in the movie business, she said, “You see, I don’t like to fight the reality. The reason it is so acute is because of the stage we are at. When we are talking about inclusion in entertainment, it’s because entertainment isn’t inclusive and, until such a time as that becomes the norm, then this work has to be done…
“I feel an impetus to say something because this is a conversation that very directly affects me, and my career, and my role in the world. But I don’t belabour it.”
The Queen of Katwe star says her Oscar win has been a liberating experience for her and has given her the freedom to be selective about what roles she accepts.
“The biggest gift or award the Academy has given me is choice. I am in a position where I don’t have to take on roles out of desperation or to help pay my bills. I can choose the projects I can say something with. It’s not something I take for granted…
“It stands out as the moment that changed my life, change in all ways, it’s the before-and-after moment.”