Grazia Removed Lupita Nyong’o’s Natural Hair And She’s Not Here For It

Lupita Nyong'o Grazia
Lupita had her whole afro ponytail removed (wallpaperclicker.com)

Despite the illusion that we’re moving towards a more inclusive, diverse version of the fashion industry, publications are still struggling to actually get there in 2017.

Last week we called out Vogue for whitewashing Adwoa Aboah, the cover star of its first issue under new editor Edward Enninful, where her trademark freckles were visibly removed and her skin appeared lighter than usual. And now Kenyan-Mexican actress has clapped back at Grazia UK, not just for a spot of retouching, but actually removing a whole chunk of her natural hair. For real.

As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh

A post shared by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on

In an Instagram post, Lupita said: “As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber [sic] of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too.”

“Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.  I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like.”

Having grown her hair longer over the last year, Lupita’s Instagram snap features pictures of her where her natural afro ponytail is visible, contrasted with the final Grazia cover where it’s removed.

She finishes the post saying: “Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh

The final hashtag couldn’t be more fitting, referencing Solange Knowles’ track ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ — a song which addresses the issue of people of colour’s natural hair being edited to fit western ideals of beauty. Solange was very publicly a victim of such treatment last month, and now Lupita’s experience is highlighting just how commonplace the misrepresentation of black women in the media continues to be.

Come on fashion mags, you can – and need to – do better.