Hollywood darling Lupita Nyong’o is still celebrating her momentous Oscar win on Sunday night. But before her historical win for her role in “12 Years a Slave,” Nyong’o was already facing some negative comments from an unlikely source.
Cameroonian pop star Dencia took to her Twitter account on March 1 to express her distaste for the stirring speech Nyong’o gave at the 214 Essence Black Women In Hollywood event on Feb. 27.
In her speech, the actress shared her thoughts on beauty and race. Nyong’o also read a portion of a letter she received from a dark-skinned girl who revealed she was inspired by Nyong’o to love her skin tone and not buy Whitenicious skin bleaching cream to lighten it. Nyong’o told the crowd that the letter reminded her of “a time when I too felt unbeautiful” and how witnessing the monumental success of supermodel Alek Wek helped her finally see the beauty of her skin tone.
“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin; I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. … And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful, but that was no [consolation], she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t.”
The speech was heralded by women of color for its honest retelling of Nyong'o’s journey to recognize her beauty. It was also praised for fueling new commentary on the lack of diversity in Hollywood and its effects on viewers who don’t see enough faces that look like theirs. But seeing that Dencia is the face of the skin-bleaching cream that Nyong’o mentioned during the speech, the singer apparently failed to recognize the greater purpose of Nyong'o’s words.
Following Nyong'o’s speech, the misguided singer posted a tweet claiming that the Oscar winner had attempted to call her out. She then followed that message with an equally vile and grammatically garbled post.
“And oh while u claim she isn’t thinking of me, I’m on Her brain 4 her 2 mention me in a speech she shld have thanked u stupid fools.” she tweeted. “& oh @Lupita_Nyongo cln’t talk abt the bleaching creams white people (Companies) make cuz the white man pays her,they own her!!”
Dencia has faced a great deal of backlash for her decision to promote the bleaching product. Many see her actions as a negative example for woman of color. But in an interview with Ebony, the singer said she is happy about the criticism since it has helped increase sales of the product.
Many fans have rallied in support of Nyong’o on Twitter, defending the actress against the pointless attacks.
Nyong’o has yet to comment on Dencia’s posts. And with the challenge of figuring out where to display her dazzling new Oscar statuette, I’m sure the celebrated beauty icon couldn't care less about Dencia's negative words.