Lupita Nyong’o accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for "12 Years a Slave" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.  (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Why do we need Hollywood to approve Lupita Nyong’o?

Question of the Day:

Lupita Nyong’o won an Oscar last night and now the secret of her beauty is out. Why is that people of color have to be accepted by Hollywood before we accept their true beauty and talent? Why are we waiting for Hollywoods’ approval of us?

Featured Photo – Lipita Nyong’o accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for “12 Years a Slave” during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.  (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

tosh thumbnailNatosha Warner is an author, talk show host, and contributor


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Nobody was checking for her or her beauty or women like her until Hollywood gives the nod. When will we stand up and write our own definitions of what beauty is to us? Why must Hollyweird give the nod first?

Solomon Jones

I feel like our views on the black beauty aesthetic go back to enslavement. Black people have been consitioned to think that lighter is better. To combat that, we have to know for ourselves that we are beautiful. That’s why the “Black is Beautiful” catchphrase was such an important part of the Civil Rights movement. It told us, over and over, that there was nothing wrong with us. When you can convince black people that black is inherently bad, or evil, or ugly, then you can convince them that they as a people are bad or evil, or ugly. And people act as they believe. There’s a phrase in the bible that says, “As a man thinks so is he.” I’ve found that to be true.


Solomon, I was just on another thread and Lupita’s face was replaced with that of Comedian Michael Blackson. Some thought it funny but this is the reason why so many Black women feel ugly. When you compare and put a monkey face or a man’s face on a woman and say there is a resemblance that’s the reason why so many Sistas run for the weave, or the skin bleach cream. And then we wonder. There is nothing funny about mocking a Sista’s beauty and I find it distasteful but hey, and then we wonder!

Lucille God'sgift Hendricks

I agree with Tosh, some many women are afraid to embrace their natural beauty for fear of being made a mockery of. Too many sisters are enslaving themselves by what society thinks they should look like by weaing fake hair,lashes and nails.Enhancing oneself for their own gratification is one thing,don’t do it because you want to be accepted by others or to fit into what the “status quo” says Black women should be.
i recently decided to loc my hair after being “chemical (perm) free’ for 15 years and during that time I wore braids and kinky twists in my hair and I have received positive responses. I do not require validation regarding my choice nor should any Black woman for that matter.Black women are beautiful and strong regardless of their skin tone.


it’s simple, the Willie Lynch theory. And this is nothing new to Hollywood it’s just that our people are getting a little better. Grace Jones was a top world model but we never embraced like Hollywood and the world (we as a people because I thought she was beautiful). Whoopi(love her) is another one of the most talented black female entertainers ever but what do we focus on? There are a few black women in Hollywood that aren’t “pretty” but you never hear any talk about them from black people. The difference is Whoopi is not so pretty and dark.
I look at blackplotation movies sometimes and see some of the prettiest black women that I’ve never heard of. Why because they never made it to mainstream Hollywood…looks aren’t everything except to black people. Hollywood has labeled women before as “simply beautiful” (all colors). It’s just that we noticed this one.

Solomon Jones

Grace Jones had this whole crazy persona that, for me at least, as a teenager at the time, was hard to get past. I couldn’t see her physical beauty because she did not seem particularly stable to me, and at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, she didn’t seem particularly feminine, either. For those reasons it was hard for me to look at her as pretty. Maybe now, with a little more maturity, I can look back and see her differently.

Tyrona A Brown

We alread knew she was beautiful an talented however its not popular to go against the grain in Hollywood unless the powers that be say so.I am so proud of Lupita for having faith in herself.I think her strong family support helped.

Solomon Jones

I noticed that line in her acceptance speech. She said, “I would like to thank my family for training me.” And ultimately that’s what it’s about–training our children for a world that will not always love them, will not always embrace them, and will not always accept them. We have to train our children to do all those things for themselves.

Andrea Lawful Trainer

Except it has become all too easy to blame society for our children& their failures too… I totally agree with you though..


I think “we” at large need to fall in love with Lupita. Hollywood loves her right now, it’s those amongst us that are still struggling to accept her as a beautiful spirit, the same way that we have “Lupita’s” in our neighborhood, classrooms, workplace that we have yet to accept and encourage. It’s as if we have forgotten the beautiful hues and aesthetic of the black beauty. Even more, her energy is infectious and humble and she has a sense of communal responsibility. For that , we must continue to cloak her with our prayers for her success, because Hollywood will treat us like a fad.


Whether we acknowledge it or not, black people see themselves through the prism of
white acceptance. Lupita and her success is just another reminder of that. It’s
as if some of us were waiting for Caucasian conformation (Hollywood)
that she was beautiful before we could sign off on it. Others were walking
around with the proverbial clinch fist going, Yeah! whitey you better say Lupita
beautiful or else; peel your muffin cap back blue. (to much? Probably) In any case, this is emblematic of the inferiority complex that still exist, within us that we are constantly trying to delete from our mental make-up; we obviously have a ways to go.

Jenice Armstrong

Dark chocolate has always been gorgeous.

Solomon Jones

You’re right, of course. But I wish my classmates in elementary school had known that, Jenice Would’ve saved me a little heartache. I really can relate to Lupita Nyong’o. I feel like her presence is saying something to dark-skinned folks–especially kids. It’s saying we are indeed beautiful.

Jerri Reed

we don’t need Hollywood’s approval at all ,remember we all come from the same ethnic background and are all children of God

Avis C. Davenport

We, black people, need to accept her beauty, not Hollywood. I remember years ago saying out loud that Grace Jones was one of the most beautiful black woman I’ve ever seen. I was criticized and was told to get thicker glasses because she was ugly. I knew then that we still accept white America’s perception of beauty and not our own. Until we realize that we don’t need to pinch our baby’s broad noses, yes, mother’s did that, straighten our hair, wear weaves that cascade down our backs, and everything else black people do to destroy their natural beauty, we will never see the Lupita’s or the Grace’s as beautiful. Simply because we can not see it in ourselves. I can’t say it enough, she is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

Solomon Jones

Wow, pinching babies’ noses. That is deep. But it shows the kind of deep-seated issues we’re dealing with when it comes to black self image.


Not sure how to begin this thought but Solomon I feel the same way about our big lips and the size of our butts. I don’t believe we were waiting for Hollywood Hollywood may have been waiting for us. Caucasians would talk about our features and now they pay for them. We live with Lipita, next door to Lipita, was taught by Lipita and we did love how Lipita looked who didn’t love Grace Jones. Hollywood craves our features and we crave their hair. All over the place but I hope you get my point.

Solomon Jones

I think you raise a great point. We all want something we don’t have, whether we articulate it or not.