I’m really not typically a fan of sentimental, idealistic awards acceptance speeches. Like, I see you, celebs. Super easy to be optimistic and full of encouragement from where you stand. But Lupita Nyong’o is the real deal in a way that you really can’t be cynical about. I think about the impact her success must be having on so many kids who doubted that someone who looks like her could be as celebrated and beloved and respected as she is, and my frozen heart starts feeling a lot of things. She gives meaning to words like “inspiring” that make me angry at how devalued the word has become from ill-fitting overuse.
And so, there are no jokes to be made here. I’m sharing this because, as loathing and forced as I find most sentimental speeches, this chick is so sincere and her words hold such authentic, real, relevant weight in her life and the lives of a lot of people.
The following is a list of people who would benefit from hearing Lupita Nyong’o‘s thoughts about beauty during her acceptance speech upon winning Best Breakthrough Performance at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon hosted by Essence Magazine:
- Anyone who doesn’t think that a person’s self-image is directly tied to their confidence and thus their belief that they can be successful, happy, and loved.
- Anyone who doesn’t understand that our culture overwhelmingly ties physical beauty with overall worth as a human, and that consequently, being made to believe that you are not beautiful means you are not worth anything.
- Anyone who grew up thinking (or current thinks) they are not beautiful because the people who they see called beautiful by society don’t look anything like them.
- Anyone who likes to hear highly poised people say wonderfully insightful things.
- Anyone who is a daughter, has a daughter, might have a daughter, or has any interest in the idea of raising future women to be as confident as possible.
- Anyone who understands that a generation of confident young women will be more likely to believe in themselves enough to affect positive change in all areas of society, including the dismantling of institutions and norms that only validate a painfully small portion of people, thus activating a self-perpetuating cycle of supporting demeaned, oppressed people and them getting ever-stronger about elevating themselves.
- Anyone who wants to stare at Lupita’s perfect face for 5 minutes (that’s everyone.)