Popular
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images.

Watch Lupita Nyong'o Speak About the Importance of Literature on the 'BBC'

'I realized that books don't have to be about White people, they can actually represent all people,' the actress says describing her complex relationship with literature during childhood.

Lupita Nyong'o was recently invited to the Harris Westminster Sixth Form in London to speak to young women about leadership and the importance of literacy. The event was hosted by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Lancôme.

There, the Kenyan-Mexican actress spoke to the BBC about the importance of literature and her own journey with reading books as a child.


"When I was growing up I didn't like reading but I was surrounded by books all ti mes and I did know how to read. But as I grew older I realized that with reading comes comprehension and confidence," Nyong'o begins. "And I think those are two qualities that are really important as you get into the workforce and try find your place in the world."

Intermittent snippets show the actress speaking to the young women about the roles reading and studying have played in her professional career when having had to play certain characters with specific capabilities.

Cutting back to the main interview, Nyongo'o continues, "When I was younger, one of the things that didn't help my dislike of reading was the fact that not a lot of the books that I was reading were relevant to my immediate life, to my immediate world." She adds that, "I realized that books don't have to be about White people, they can actually represent all people."

Just last year, Nyong'o released her debut children's book Sulwe which seeks to address colorism in the Black community by providing much-needed representation for dark-skinned little girls through a character who looks just like them.

Towards the end of the interview, Nyong'o says simply, "When you are reading stories that have themes and characters that are relevant to your world, then you're more likely to stick with [reading] longer because you can see the ways in which it is applicable to your life."

Watch the full video below:

Spotlight
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Global Citizen x OkayAfrica: The Impact of Conflict on Children

An estimated 1.4 million children have been hit by schools closing in the Tigray region of Ethiopia amid conflict and crisis. Here's how that's impacting Ethiopia's children.

In times of conflict and war, school-aged children could have their futures defined by whether or not they can access education amid ongoing violence.

Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray is in the midst of a war that has impacted millions of lives and affected neighboring regions, Amhara and Afar. The war — which has forced citizens to flee, has tipped the region into famine, and has barricaded humanitarian aid from reaching the most vulnerable — has now been going on for about 11 months.

As the beginning of the school season draws nearer, safely reopening schools, making education accessible, and protecting children from the impacts of violence in the affected regions is a priority for aid agencies.

"As schools prepare to reopen in early October in most parts of the country, in Tigray and the bordering regions of Afar and Amhara, where the conflict has expanded, education remains at a standstill," Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, told Global Citizen.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Beauty Boy, Enioluwa Adeoluwa, Is Shattering the Expectations of Masculinity In Nigeria

Affectionately known as Lipgloss Boy, Enioluwa has become one of the most popular influencers in Nigeria — and he's done so without conforming to the notions of masculinity or imposed limitations on what a man should be able to do.