Oscar-winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o has spoken up about being a victim of colorism and wishing to have a skin that was different as a child, ahead of the release of her children’s book, Sulwe which is about a girl with skin darker than her family. 

 In an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, the actress who was born in Kenya before moving to the United States said colorism “is the daughter of racism” in “a world that rewards lighter skin over darker skin”. 

Colorism, is a practice where those with lighter skin are treated more favorably than those who are darker, manifests inter- as well as intra-culturally. Behavioral scientists have conducted numerous studies globally that show both whites and blacks are more favorably disposed toward people with lighter skin, rating them smarter, wealthier, and even happier.  

The Black Panther star said her younger sister, whose skin was lighter, was called “beautiful” and “pretty” and that made her grow up feeling uncomfortable with her skin color because she felt like the world around her awarded lighter skin. 

Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, said colourism was “very much linked to racism” despite the fact she experienced it in a predominantly black society like Kenya.