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