Following the successful release of the book in 2019, Oscar award-winning Kenyan-Mexican actor Lupita Nyong’o recently announced that her critically acclaimed children’s book Sulwe is now available as an audiobook

Sulwe talks about a 5-year old girl who has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything. In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

“Listening to a book read aloud is such a personal, intimate way to experience the characters and story,” she said. “I wanted to narrate the audiobook for Sulwe myself in order to bring to life the characters as I had imagined them in my head when writing the book.”

Nyong’o admitted that the book is based on her personal experiences as a child, adding, “The character of Mama, for one, is inspired by my own mother, and it was rewarding to emulate the warmth, calm and compassion that she continues to comfort and guide me with to this day.”

She continued, “I had so much fun performing the voices for Sulwe, her family, Night, and Day, and I can’t wait for readers to hear them.”

Sulwe is inspired by Nyong’o’s own experience with colourism especially as she grew up with a sister with a skin complexion much lighter than hers. Colourism has been spotlighted over the years especially in Hollywood where light-skinned Black actors reportedly get more roles but also across the world in the Black diaspora. A year after Nyong’o released Sulwe, British-Nigerian actress, Beverly Naya, released the Netflix documentary Skin which focused particularly on Nigeria’s widespread skin bleaching practice.

Mac Nuru

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