“International blackness may also be privileged, exceptionalized, exoticized where the same features, talent might be ignored had they appeared on the body of someone born, educated, shaped in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn or Detroit or Compton or Chicago. Enter Lupita Nyong’o, the Kenyan-Mexican actress nominated for a slew of awards for her viscerally powerful performance as Patsey in Black British director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. The Yale-trained actress is lighting up red carpets all over Hollywood with gown after gown of fashionista deliciousness. Lupita’s hair is natural and kinky, her skin is the deepest chocolate - her beauty is undeniable. It has also been universally acknowledged and defined as such - and so it should. So far, articles about Lupita have unsurprisingly noted how inspiring she is for chocolate skinned women who routinely haven’t made the cut as cover girl in this particular landscape. Vanity Fair’s ‘Hottest In Hollywood’ issue has often been critiqued for its absence of black actors and actresses. This year, Lupita stands centrally, in gold lame, looking like a chocolate goddess. That kind of cover-girl treatment has traditionally been reserved for bodies and hair unlike that of Lupita - and so part of the celebration, say some, has been Lupita’s unAmerican-ness - her international blackness.”
International Blackness vs. Homegrown Negroes: Lupita, Chimamanda, Thandie and Me
yup, cause i’m for sure starting to feel some kinda way about Lupita and how folks are fawning over her - not at all saying that it should stop, but if homegirl looked the same, but her name was ShQuanika or Sharkeesha Jones and her accent and roots was southside Philly or the SWATS (Atlanta) and she only spoke english, BUT SHE STILL LOOKED EXACTLY THE SAME, would everyone still be so in love with her?
something about this argument irritates the shit outta me.
I don’t understand this argument that it’s easier to be black in this country for non-American black people. Maybe it’s not for me to understand.
I’m gonna try to keep this concise, but unadulterated, because there are so many things here that I find to be flagrantly disingenuous.
First of all, I really have a hard time understanding the binary of Black America vs. everyone else in the diaspora and what it means in any important context. It seems to pit people who have practically nothing in common, aside from being Black and on the basis of not having long winded ancestral ties in US (ie. Eritreans and Haitians) against Black people who’ve been in the US for centuries (and who undoubtedly have more cultural, historical and ancestral ties with Haitians than Eritreans do); this binary is careless and dishonest at best, but deceivingly dangerous at worst. There’s no “international blackness”. It has no meaning or relevance or usage at all.
An argument like this really relies on the notion that if you’re not stigmatized “x” way, then you’re privileged or prized over those that are stigmatized “x” way, which is real short sighted, LAZY bullshit.
Like yeah, Africans don’t get treated the same way Black Americans do, but that statement alone is presenting a half truth. We’re treated differently, not better. We’re not typically associated with being thugs or gangsters or ghetto but we’re the starving and backwards booty scratching leeches. We’re the malaria ridden, AIDS infested shithole of planet Earth and the continent so brutally homogenized to the extent that people think “Africa” is easily or acceptably interchangeable with “Nigeria” or “Lesotho”.
Like when was the last time a Black American ever had to be interrogated if they came out of a hut? Or if their family members are malnourished or dying in a far off war? Or if they have an intact clitoris? Am I then to presume that they’re favored by mainstream audiences over Africans? Do you honestly believe that Lupita doesn’t have her set of critics who resent her foreign blackness?
And I honestly have to laugh at the sheer absurdity of the additional commentary. There’s no denying that Lupita Nyong’o is a fairly digestible name for liberal audiences. But guess what? So is Kerry Washington and Mariah Carey and Gabourey Sidibe and Robyn Fenty and Faith Evans and Kelly Rowland and many other Black Americans. The argument seems to sloppily conjoin her being African with her seemingly acceptable name and presents a false dichotomy of unaccepted Black American names with accepted African names.
Lupita’s name is Spanish and it was given to her because she was born in Mexico. If she did have a name like Shaniqua, she’d be treated like shit. If she had a name that was too abrasive for the Western vernacular, guess what? She’d also be treated like shit. Do you honestly think there are first gen African girls walking around with names like Lupita? We have fucking harsh and outstandingly “ethnic” names that got us taunted all throughout school. This article cites the name “Chimamanda” and you’ve got to be out your fucking mind to think that Chimamanda was not a name that came without invasive probing and teasing and alienation.
Like quite frankly, you’re giving white people way too much lax here. They hate us all, but they hate us in particular ways.
Basing an actor’s likeability primarily on a name being palatable to the eurocentric audience doesn’t jive with me. I agree with the ^ they hate us all for different reasons but, there is trend of the prioritization of non american blacks being favored over american blacks in movie/modeling roles and a trend of american blacks only reaching fame through exotic-ification / being portrayed as foreign e.x. zoe saldana In addition to black americans heritage being reduced to black (their color) and not being cast in roles they reflect their variety of heritage e.x. dark skinned afrolatino’s rarely getting latino roles. e.x. gina torres On colorisim gabie sidibie is really one of the the first dark skinned actress that hasn’t been type cast into mammy roles beyond that most dk skinned american blacks aren’t accepted as leading ladies whereas some non american blacks have been able to acquire the limelight for a while now in modeling careers and the like. The creepy paternalistic right wing rhetoric of white americans asking black americans “why can’t you be like those smiling [read grateful] africans” is a real thing. also a lot of the non american blacks that are getting roles are from the UK which is just another form of euro-centrism good article good commentary