Nairobi News


Politics? Not for me – one politician per family is good enough, says Lupita

By Paul Redfern October 24th, 2019 2 min read

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o says she has no intention of eventually following her father, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, into politics.

While she told Vanity Fair magazine that she was born into a political family and that “my father was fighting for what he believed in,” she also told the London newspaper Metro that “one politician per family is good enough! Knock on wood, please never.”

But she also said “I think it was really just instilled in me that there are things in this world that are worth changing — part of living is about trying to transform the world into, you know… the world that we want to be a part of.”

Lupita is nevertheless clearly up for political roles and says that the experience of performing in the all black film Black Panther was important because the film, which grossed $1.347 billion in box offices across the globe, was such a success.

“In Black Panther, I felt that the African experience was allowed to exist aspirationally,” says Lupita. “I think it’s more common in America to hear of the struggle of black people than it is to hear of the success. It’s more of a sensation to have a headline about a struggle, you know.”

On Wednesday night, Britain’s Channel 4 documentary Warrior Woman was aired featuring Lupita’s documentary about Benin’s Agoji ‘amazons’ (they were warrior women in the kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to 19th centuries).

Lupita told Metro she was intrigued when she heard of the Agoji while working on Black Panther.


“African history is often misrepresented,” she said, “as it is filtered through a European lens so I wanted to find out more for myself by going to Benin. The Agoji had a complicated history and they defied notions of what women at the time were capable of. We can learn from that.”

Describing herself as “overwhelmed” by the experience of visiting Benin and finding out about the Agoji, Lupita said “every day is new information, epiphanies, discoveries.”

Lupita has also written a children’s book titled Sulwe, which was released this month. She has also appeared on BBC’s prestige programme ‘Newsnight’, where she told Emily Maitlis that she had grown up “feeling uncomfortable with my skin colour because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin.”

She said her younger sister, whose skin was lighter, was called “beautiful” and “pretty”.

She said colourism was “very much linked to racism” despite the fact she experienced it in a predominantly black society like Kenya and had once been told she was “too dark” for television.

Lupita, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and was an Oscar winner for her role in 12 Years a Slave, says she likes to relax by watching the UK cookery programme The Great British Bake Off because it makes her cry.