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Lupita Nyong'o Shared Her Experiences with Colorism on 'BBC Newsnight'

'Colorism is the daughter of racism in a world that rewards lighter skin over darker skin,' the actress said.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight last night ahead of the release of her children's book Sulwe, Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o shared her experiences with colorism—the prejudice against those with darker skin. Similar to the main character in her book, whose skin is the color of midnight and darker than everyone in her family, Nyong'o speaks candidly about how she grew up being uncomfortable with her dark skin and describes her book as a mirror for other dark-skinned girls.


Colorism is still a contentious issue especially in the Black community. Despite dark-skinned women constantly sharing their lived experiences and the challenges they've encountered compared to their light-skinned counterparts, colorism is a topic that is still shrouded in denialism and limiting archetypes. ABC's popular show Black-ish attempted to address the issue in its "Black Like Us" episode while actress and show-runner Issa Rae has spoken about how she wants to change the way dark-skinned women are portrayed in television and film.

Growing up in Kenya, in a society with predominantly Black people, Nyong'o explains how she felt judged because of her dark skin and the general expectation of having to ascribe to Eurocentric standards of beauty. She said that, "I definitely grew up feeling uncomfortable with my skin color because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin". She also went on to add that, "Race is a very social construct, one that I didn't have to ascribe to on a daily basis growing up. As much as I was experiencing colorism in Kenya, I wasn't aware that I belonged to a race called Black because suddenly the term Black was being ascribed to me and it meant certain things that I was not accustomed to."

Recently, Nyong'o appeared on the The Tonight Show, Starring Jimmy Fallon and spoke about her excited reaction to being mentioned in Beyoncé and Wizkid's "Brown Skin Girl", a lyric which has since become an anthem especially among dark-skinned women.

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Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Burna Boy "Kainama" (Youtube)

The 20 Best East African Songs of 2019

Featuring tracks from Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Sauti Sol, Irene Ntale, Ethic, Vanessa Mdee and many more.

2019 was a year full of positive growth for East African music. It saw many artists from the region make the necessary strides to take East African music to the next level.

The launch of new independent imprints continued to develop a class of budding stars. Sauti Sol's new Sol Generation label, for example, boasts a stellar roster that includes artists like Bensoul and Nviiri the Storyteller, who have topped the charts this year. =Tanzanian bongo flava heavyweight Harmonize left Diamond Platnumz' WCB Wasafi records and set up his own independent imprint called Konde Gang Music Worldwide. This is a dramatic move from the bongo flava superstar but it's exciting to see what he and his new label will offer in the coming year.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Left: Photo by Bennett Raglin/ NAACP LDF for Getty Images, Right: Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Lupita Nyong'o and Mati Diop Win at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Lupita Nyong'o took home 'Best Lead Actress' for her role in 'Us' while Mati Diop's 'Atlantics' won 'Best First Film'.

Yesterday, the New York Film Critics Circle announced its full list of this year's winners. According to Deadline, Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong'o took home the "Best Lead Actress" award for her phenomenal role in the Jordan Peele horror film Us while Senegalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop's Atlantics won in the "Best First Film" category.

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Cardi B Teases New Remix of Davido's 'Fall'

Looks like the Nigerian star's massive hit is getting yet another re-up.

Cardi B has teased her apparent upcoming remix of Davido's "Fall."

Posting from a private jet, as she was on her way to New York before heading to West Africa, Cardi B shared a video of herself rapping and dancing along to the unreleased remix.

From the sounds of it, Cardi's "Fall" remix will feature a brand new verse from the New York rapper.

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Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

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