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Could Lupita Nyong’o be the Face of ‘Errthang’?

Question: Would you buy a can of Pepsi from someone who looked like this? Really think about it, so we can talk about it.

Photo from People Mag

Photo from People Mag

It’s no secret that I am an unabashed fan of Lupita Nyong’o. She literally burst from obscurity to superstardom overnight. I’m sure she is absolutely brilliant in 12 Years a Slave, a film that has won critical acclaim for dealing with the heavy subject matter of slavery and man’s inhumanity to man as told by Solomon Northrop. I say “I’m sure” because I have not watched the film and have no intention of doing so. You all know how emotionally invested I get in – well – everything. So instead of looking at Lupita’s portrayal of Patsey, we’ll look at Lupita’s portrayal of herself. In real life. As the face of everything!

I asked this very question to a new e-friend of mine yesterday, i.e. did she think Lupita could usurp Beyonce’s place as being the Face of Errthang? Beyonce sells/has sold perfume, Pepsi, cable TV (as in Lemme Upgrade You to cable TV), hair color, cosmetics…the list goes on and on. There was a stretch in time for about 3 years where ALL you ever saw was Beyonce singing and selling something. She was overexposed and became an irritation, as far as I was concerned. But advertising agencies and corporations kept booking her and throwing her in our faces, whether we liked it or not. Is the world ready to receive Lupita in such a manner?

Let’s just state the obvious. Lupita and Beyonce are two very different looking women. However, there is no question in my mind that there are rivals in beauty, and certainly in style. While Beyonce is often overtly sexual in her dress, Luptia’s style is more demure and structured, and yet no less sexy. The story of her rise to fame is absolutely compelling. She got her start in show business as a production runner (the go-and-get-it girl) on the set of The Constant Gardner, and has been running towards her dreams ever since. She speaks eloquently, works with passion, and has been gracious in every interview I’ve seen her in to date. Did I mention she’s drop dead gorgeous?

Would I buy a Coke from her? Heck yeah! But I don’t think the rest of the world is ready.

Back to my e-friend to whom I posed this question: Could Lupita Be the Face of Errthang? Her reply shocked and saddened me. She said:

I fear this may be a phase. I don’t want it to be but it’s all too sudden. There is a tokenism about it that I’m not keen on.

I was shocked because we’re supposed to be living in a “post racial society” now. I was saddened because she is most likely right. I had taken deep gulps of Kool Aid and now this woman was forcing me to gag and spit it back up with her bloody common sense, practicality and truth-talk! All the same, we admitted it would be nice to dream; and so we did. We conjured a campaign through which Lupita Nyong’o would sell us all Malta, and we would like it!

It would be interesting to see how well African’s would receive Lupita as the Face of Errthang on the continent itself. On my most recent trip to Ghana, I was struck by how images of lighter skinned Ghanaians – and most noticeably, mixed race Ghanaians – were being used to sell everything from life insurance to Indomie. In fact, the only time I saw a dark skinned woman in an ad campaign was on a Guinness Black Lager poster in which she had been artistically molded into the liquid contents of the bottle.

What say you? Would you be willing to receive Lupita as the next overexposed starlet? Why?  Or do you like my friend think this is all a phase which will soon pass?

I for one hope she gets a Cover Girl contract. It would be nice if Procter & Gamble could mix up some nice dark girl foundation for once…The darkest paint they have gives me this weird Casper in Mexico ghostly glow. Ech.


This article has 8 comments

  1. Rasheeda

    I would gladly buy ANYTHING her face was on, this woman could model snuggies and I would be on board. The problem for me is she’s too new. I need to see longevity for me to buy into it. Beyoncé is a commodity but the girl has staying power, you can’t keep her name out of pop cultures mouth. I need to see that of Lupita, which in Hollywood is a beast of a different sort. Are there roles? Will she be typecast? What range will her work show? All of these are yet to be determined. But I hope the tide is turning because we need some new brown faces in the mix and hers is a lovely one to look at. Also, if she sells makeup the store shelves would be empty!! Her complexion is chocolate mixed with fairy dust! She’s got me wanting to sit in the sun. All day. Geez!

  2. Allison

    I absolutely would buy anything Lupita Nyong’o put her face to. However, I think she needs to be very selective in the products she chooses. I disagree that she needs to be EVERYWHERE. She needs to be somebody’s muse, and not wh*re herself out to whomever hands her a check. I seriously want somebody to hold Beyonce back by her forehead to give us a break. Lady evidently puts on a great show and is certainly managed well, but I’m in a minority that doesn’t happen to think she’s that great a talent. Miss Lupita, though, I could watch all day long. Pity you won’t watch 12 Years because, damn, she’s magnificent and I think she’ll go far if she isn’t put in a box or any Tyler Perry movie involving Madea. I will enjoy her rise because I’m pretty tired of softball “black” films a la Paula Patton or stories that I find neither interesting nor relatable.

  3. gladyswangare

    She is good,you should watch the movie,see how they tore into her flesh while whipping her,though it was a movie man that scene is just grotesque! the hatred,jealousy,contempt and utter disregard to humanity is demonstrated with such ruthlessness its so surreal.Solomon and Lupita nailed it.
    Some Caucasians will never accept Black success,Black Talent,Black brilliance or anything good from black people. Thats their problem.This young woman has just began and her star shines brighter than most veterans of Hollywood because she is good like that.

    • Malaka

      I actually think Caucasians are very embracing of Lupita, not counting the small minded ones. Actually, there may be more small minded, colorstruck blacks who would discount her before White ones would. Lupita is “exotic” to white people. For black people who cannot see beyond color, she’s just “black”. As for the rest of us, well, we see beauty isn’t it?

      I completely agree that she’s going places. If Grace Jones had not played the villain in that one Bond movie with Roger Moore, I’d love to see Lupita as a Bond girl. That would be history repeated, I think. All the same, I can see her in an elegant dress with a gun hidden somewhere secret doing the tango with Daniel Craig…*swoon*!!!

  4. Malaka

    Chocolate and fairy dust…sigh!!

    You’re right when you say Beyonce has staying power. She’s been crafting her image for what, 15 years now? Part of that has included stepping all over her band mates in order to create this ‘Beyonce n’ dem’ dynamic before coming out as plain on Beyonce, no last name needed. If, as Allison said, Lupita crafts her career carefully and chooses her roles wisely, she’ll be unstoppable. I believe that with more people of color creating more interesting and varied content, she’ll have the opportunity to play more dynamic roles and prove her metal. It’s been 74 years since Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for playing a house slave. I’m pretty sure we’re due an Oscar for playing something other than an oppressed Negro woman in the South, and I’m pretty sure we have the tools to do it ourselves.

  5. guestar

    Haven’t watched the movie, but I’ll say this…I was neighbours with Lupita and her family growing up in Kenya (our mothers to this day are still good friends). Lupita and her older sister would come over to our house to hang out/play video games and we go over to theirs. We went to the same school. Growing up, kids would make fun of Lupita and her sister because of their dark skin so its interesting to see the response to her now. But like everything with hollywood, the fascintation with her will die down (kinda like the Jeremy Lin phase). That said I congratulate her on her achievement

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