So I watched the red carpet coverage of the Oscars in part because I was dying to see what Lupita Nyong'o was going to wear. As what's-his-face interviewed her about who she was wearing (Prada, and again, who is this person who remembers that?), she explained that the color was "Nairobi blue" because it reminded her of the sky in Kenya.
And I thought to myself, We have just seen a new color name be born.
Sure enough, moments later on Twitter and in news reports that followed, people were writing about her Nairobi blue dress.
And I thought, how fabulous that from now on the name Nairobi will be connected in people's minds to beauty.
That wasn't the first wonderful gift to beauty that Lupita had offered. Aside from the way she carried herself throughout the awards season, she also gave an amazing speech at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. Do read the whole thing, but this is the part that grabbed me hard:
I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty. Black beauty. Dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: "Dear Lupita," it reads, "I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me."One of the things I have been learning is that how we appear is not frivolous. How we present ourselves is not a mere outward show. It's a form of communication, and the messages it sends can be very powerful.
Again, do read the whole speech, but she ends with this:
What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.Just beautiful.