26 February 2018

Kenya: The Ever-Rising Hollywood Star of Kenyan Actress Lupita Nyong'o

Photo: Lupita Nyong'o/Instagram
Lupita Nyong'o

Fresh from her exceptional performance as Nakia, the love interest of King T'Challa in the record-breaking movie Black Panther, Nyong'o is set to appear in the film adaptations of Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah and Trevor Noah's Born a Crime.

Lupita Nyong'o has been making waves on the big screen since her debut in the film 12 years a slave, which earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and her current reputation as a hot commodity. Lately the young actress has been attracting roles that are more African in nature and closer to her heritage.

In an interview about Black Panther, Nyong'o, who grew up in Kenya, said that having African culture celebrated in such a way was 'liberating'.

"We come from a continent of great wealth, but a continent that has been assaulted and abused very often. What colonialism did was to rewrite our history and our narrative, and our global narrative has become one of poverty and strife. The wealth of the continent is very seldom seen on such a global scale. Wakanda is special because it was never colonised, and what we can see there - for all of us - is a re-imagining of what would have been possible had Africa been allowed to realise itself for itself. And that's a beautiful place."

One of the films that Nyong'o will be starring in is an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Americanah. It is a love story about two young Nigerians, Ifemelu and Obinze, and their experience as immigrants in the United States and the United Kingdom.

"It is such an honour to have the opportunity to bring Ms Adichie's brilliant book to the screen. Page after page, I was struck by Ifemelu and Obinze's stories. Their experiences as African immigrants are so specific and eminently relatable. It is a thrilling challenge to tell a truly international story so full of love, humour and heart," said Nyong'o in a statement.

In another upcoming film she will be portraying the mother of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah in his bestselling autobiography Born a Crime: Stories from a Southern African Childhood. Noah will produce the project through his company Ark Angel Productions. Also involved are Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin of Mainstay Entertainment.

Among other themes in his book, Noah focuses on growing up in post-apartheid South Africa as the son of a white father and black mother who had trouble fitting in. Also detailed are stories of his mother, Patricia Noah, who grew up in a hut with 14 occupants and took her son to three churches every Sunday, a prayer meeting on Tuesday, Bible study on Wednesday, and youth church on Thursday.

Patricia Noah, who will be played by Nyong'o, is central to the tale. "My mom always treated me like the adult she wanted me to become... She taught me to be independent. She taught me to be caring. She taught me to have empathy," Noah told CNN.

Nyong'o said on Twitter, "When I read @TrevorNoah's Born a Crime, I could not put the book down. Excited to announce that I will be starring in and producing its feature film adaptation! #BornACrime". It will be a busy couple of years for Nyong'o, with a starring role in the Australian zombie comedy Little Monsters coming up later this year, a rumoured role in the Charlie's Angels reboot and a rumoured comeback as Maz Kanata in Star Wars: Episode IX.

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