Lupita Nyong'o And The "T" Word

Lupita Nyong'o's recent success at the Oscars has left us ruminating over Hollywood tokenism.

The blogosphere is currently ablaze with all things Lupita Nyong'o. The recent Oscar winning actress (congrats!) has become Hollywood's poster girl in just a matter of months, but her stratospheric rise to 'flawless' star status is now being marred by buzzwords like 'Hollywood tokenism' and 'fetishization'. Comic memes like this one (admittedly posted on our social media to divisive responses) tap into Hollywood's dichotomous relationship with black beauty and success. If a person who happens to be black is celebrated, and their blackness is mentioned, they automatically become associated with tokenism — lest we forget Halle Berry's Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster's Ball).

Admittedly, it's impossible to engage with Lupita Nyong'o's ubiquitous popularity without acknowledging that her success may also benefit Hollywood's public image; see Lee and Low's infographic highlighting the Academy Awards' poor diversity stats below. Who better than a Yale educated, bilingual, beautiful actress like Lupita to front Hollywood's progressive 'we're post-racial' marketing campaign. Yes, the fact that Lupita now seems to be everyone's new best friend may certainly carry undertones of white self congratulation, it may even give people the false idea that Hollywood is a utopic land of equal opportunity for all  — read this interesting Aljazeera article about how this is not the case. But what's most important, and fundamentally triumphant about Lupita's success, be it underlined by the white establishment's self interest or not, is the mere fact that she exists, and that she - and her beauty - are being celebrated.

No one said it better than Lupita herself in her 'black women in Holywood' acceptance speech, where she highlighted the desperate need for role models who look like her. Her eloquence, intelligence and grace do a service to women in acting in general, and black women specifically, and we need more people like her on our screens.  Though Hollywood and the film industry still has a long, long way to go in representing diversity, the 'Lupita Nyong'o effect' suggests that we're on our way, and until we reach that point, words like tokenism will always resurface, but hey haters gonna hate. Now that this rant is over, check out Lupita being humble and stunning all at once and watch out for the moment where Ellen Degeneres lets slip that she, like us, loves her.

(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The 10 Best HHP Songs Ranked

On the second anniversary of HHP's passing, we rank 10 of the South African hip-hop legend's best songs.

Jabulani Tsambo, popularly known by his alias HHP, was a pivotal part of South African hip-hop. Renowned for trailblazing the motswako sub-genre in the early 2000s, the rapper sadly passed away on October 24th, 2018 after a long and much publicised bout with depression.

During his active years, which span two decades (from 1997 to 2018), he was instrumental in breaking barriers and bridging the gap between kwaito and hip-hop in SA, from the late 90s to early 2000s.

He became a household name in the 2000s as he spearheaded the motswako movement, propelling it to the mainstream and solidifying his legendary status in the process.

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