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Lupita Nyong’o Speech on Black Beauty Essence Black Women

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Lupita Nyong’o Speech on Black Beauty Essence Black Women

 

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I received a letter from a girl and I’d
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like to share just a small part of it
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with you dear Lupita it reads I think
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you you’re really lucky to be this black
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but yet this successful in Hollywood
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overnight I was just about to buy
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dentures white Nicias scream to lighten
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my skin when you appeared on the world
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map and saved me my heart bled a little
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when I read those words I could never
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have guessed that my first job out of
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school would be so powerful in and of
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itself and that it would propel me to be
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such an image of hope in the same way
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that the women of the color purple were
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to me I remember a time when I too felt
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unbeautiful I put on the TV and only saw
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pale skin I got teased and taunted about
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my knight shaded skin and my one prayer
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to God the miracle worker was that I
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would wake up light-skinned the morning
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would come and I would be so excited
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about seeing my new skin that I would
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refuse to look down at myself until I
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was in front of a mirror because I
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wanted to see my fair face first and
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every day I experienced the same
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disappointment of being just as dark as
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I had been the day before I tried to
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negotiate with God I told him I would
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stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he
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gave me what I wanted I would listen to
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my mother’s every word sitting right
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there and never lose my school sweater
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again if he just made me a little
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lighter but I guess God was unimpressed
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with my bargaining chips because he
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never listened and when I was a teenager
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myself hate grew worse as you can
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imagine happens with adolescence my
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mother reminded me often that she
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thought I was beautiful but that was no
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consolation she’s my mother of course
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she’s supposed to think I’m beautiful
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and then a lack back came on the
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international field
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a celebrated model she was dark as night
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she was on all the runways and in every
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magazine and everyone was talking about
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how beautiful she was even Oprah called
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her beautiful and that made it a fact I
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couldn’t believe that people were
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embracing a woman who looked so much
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like me as beautiful my complexion had
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always been an obstacle to overcome and
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all of a sudden
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Oprah was telling me it wasn’t it was
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perplexing and I wanted to reject it
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because I had begun to enjoy the
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seduction of inadequacy but a flower
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couldn’t help but bloom inside me when I
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saw a lack I inadvertently saw a
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reflection of myself that I could not
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deny now I had a spring in my step
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because I felt more seen more
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appreciated by the Far Away gatekeepers
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of beauty but around me the preference
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for light-skinned prevailed to the
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beholders that I thought mattered I was
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still unbeautiful and my mother again
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would say to me you can’t eat beauty it
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doesn’t feed you and these words played
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and bothered me I didn’t really
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understand them until finally I realized
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that beauty was not a thing that I could
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acquire or consume it was something that
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I just had to be and what my mother
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meant when she said you can’t eat beauty
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was that you can’t rely on how you look
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to sustain you what actually sustains us
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what is fundamentally beautiful is
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compassion for yourself and for those
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around you that kind of beauty that kind
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of beauty inflames the heart and
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enchants the soul it is what got Patsy
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in so much trouble with her master but
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it is also what has kept her story alive
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to this day we remember the beauty of
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her spirit even after the beauty of her
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body has faded away
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and so I hope that my presence on your
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screens and in magazines may lead you
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younger on a similar journey that you
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will feel the validation of your
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external beauty but also get to the
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deeper business of being beautiful
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inside that there is no shade in that
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beauty thank you