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March 2014

The ever so beautiful and talented Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Actress In A Supporting Role for “Patsey” in 12 Years A Slave. Well-deserved. She looked lovely and gave an amazing speech, thanking family, friends, her cast mates, her film’s director Steve McQueen, her educators at Yale and the actual person she portrayed, “Patsey,” noting that through a reality of so much pain for the enslaved like “Patsey” is her current experience of so much joy. Her role is remarkable; that film impacts me forever.

"No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid" seems to be the quote remembered everywhere. I think it’s beautiful.

Understandably there’s always mixed feelings among us about Oscars since The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself is not diverse (despite having its first Black woman as president, Cheryl Boone-Isaacs), the type of roles that Black actors are nominated for tend to be narrow (which isn’t a question of the actors’ talent; we know they are skilled) and the question of is it just “White approval” comes up. My reply? Yes, The Academy is not diverse. Yes the roles honored are limited. No, wanting to be recognized for hard work which impacts future work and earning potential isn’t simplistically about “White approval” but about future resources and respect. And Lupita seems to be thankful for each award she has won this season which includes: Oscar, SAG, Independent Spirit, Critics Choice, NAACP Image and nominations for BAFTA and Golden Globe. She deserves recognition.

Congratulations to her; I wish her the absolute best in her career and her life. 

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