The Seduction of Inadequacy – Lupita Nyong’o
The name of Lupita Nyong’o has become famous over the last few months both for her amazing acting and great style but also for her great acceptance speeches.
One of the first times we heard Lupita talk she gave an excellent speech when she took home the Black Beauty Essence Black Women In Hollywood Award
This is what she said:
“My one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first.
And every day I felt the same disappointment as I was just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God. I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother’s every word and I would never lose my school jersey again. If he just made me a little lighter.”
I think many people think the troubles of Lupita are superficial and not important but the truth is that there has not been a single girl, or guy, who has not been affected by this same difficulty. Perhaps not all in regards to the darkness of their skin but with the shape of their nose, the shape of their eyes or the extra rolls around their middle. The rate of suicide, teenage bulling, depression, cutting (or self-mutilation) and a string of psychological issues all point back at low self-esteem and self-loathing.
So who is our hope, who can save us from this seduction of inadequacy?
How do we regain our dignity, pride and self-esteem and how do we cure this disease embedded in our souls?
Is our only hope people like Lupita, who are lauded for beauty, compassion and honour and who pioneer alternative ideas of beauty? Can we only rely upon role models and celebrities to forge the way? Who can show us that true beauty and worth is not based on what we look like on the outside but what we look like on the inside?
The perpetual fear of not being good enough is something that goes much deeper than superficial cares about appearance and popularity. It hits deep in the soul and causes a decaying disease to fester in the soul. Every single comment, observation or criticism from this point on is over-analysed and crushing to the individual.