Blue and I saw 12 Years a Slave as soon as it was released in Atlanta.
The film was stunning.
We dined afterward and talked for hours about the the movie and the myriad topics it inspired: slavery, racism, privilege, wealth, the power of story, literacy, critical literacy and public schooling. We discussed the stories that get told or lost. We noted, with a healthy dose of cynicism, who “history” deems worthy of remembrance.
We retold scenes to each other. Relived predictions, twists. What made us look away, hold our breath, or more tightly to the other’s hand.
The writing, directing and performances were brilliant. And yet as moved as I was during and after, it was Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey who brought me to tears:
Patsey broke my heart a million times.
— nicole means victory (@ndcollier) October 19, 2013
At some point I want to truly express what Patsey meant to me, but this post is about Lupita.
I’m overjoyed she has received accolades during this awards season, including the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She is being honored for being herself. Not a shrinking violet of herself, but a lantern. A ray of sunshine in what can sometimes be the the darkness of Hollywood. She overcame a childhood of self loathing to become someone who, quite literally, puts herself on stage, on screen, on view, for all the world to see.
Lupita relates her story in a loving response to a young woman drawn to her light. Watch it below:
And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. ~Lupita Nyong’o