Lupita Nyong’o: Hair Is Political

by Clutch


Lupita Nyong’o is undoubtedly one of the most talked about women in Hollywood right now. From her award winning portrayal of Patsy in 12 Years A Slave, to her flawless sense of style and elegance.  The natural beauty is taking the world by storm.

Besides her sense of fashion style, her hair stands out as well. In a sea of weaves worn in Hollywood by both white and black women, Lupita’s cropped cut is definitely making a statement all in its own.  In a recent interview with Britain’s Pride magazine, Lupita discusses how she doesn’t consider herself a hair icon, but does realize hair is political.

From Telegraph Belfast:

“I wasn’t really aware of being a natural hair icon. I don’t really read the news, so this is the first time I’m hearing that. I’m not surprised though; there is something about hair that has always been political,” she explained to Britain’s Pride magazine.

“Someone has long hair and they cut it, it’s political, when someone grows their hair it’s political. So I don’t know how to answer that. I guess I’m just taking it in my stride.”

But Lupita hasn’t always worn her hair short. Just like many of us, she’s had run-ins with other styles and bad dye jobs.

“When I was in my teens I dyed my hair all sorts of colors; blue and maroon. And then I realized that I was probably going to end up bald by the time I was 40. So I stopped doing all those things and finally decided to love it the way it is,” she said.

Clutchettes, do you think hair is political?

  • Vernetta R. Freeney

    It shouldn’t be but it definitely is. As a natural going on 12 years now I know I’ve had my fair share of comments on why I choose to “go natural.” I’m not sure why it’s such a big issue among women how another woman wears her hair. I mean does it affect other people’s daily lives?

  • Dorian

    I am not sure why her hair is such a big deal. She is so beautiful, her hair is an after thought to me.

  • cheyenne

    Yes, Hair is political and personal and when I hear the discussion of black hair devolve into 1A and 4B, I know many have missed the point completely. Why are we labeling our hair texture and capitulating to the same rules which oppressed us in the past?

    My post focuses more on the dialog around natural hair because that’s my life experience. All of our looks are beautiful, okay, and we need to stop creating rules around heat/no heat and how natural you are. It doesn’t serve us.If a white girl blows out her hair, is that then unnatural? Give yourself a break and feel free to be a woman.

    I also don’t buy these new expensive products that seek to communicate to me that my hair is impossible to manage– calling themselves curly girl or mixed chick and selling me egg whites for $60. First off my hair is proudly called “kinky” or “nappy”. Secondly, as a women whose worn her hair natural all her life, I resent these new products and the message they send to women–that these alone are the “natural hair whisperer”. Play around with your own hair, and you can bypass the consumerism.

    One last thing–I met a guy once who immediately asked me if that was my real hair, and I realized that this is forever a question about breeding. Disgusting– as if we’ve retreated to the colonial era. Whether it is or not, whether it is a weave or dred loc extensions or simply my hair, I will not be reduced by any man who seeks to invalidate my beauty because he’s intimidated.

  • Whitney’s Receipts

    She’s so stunning. I hope she wins that Oscar.

  • Lola

    There is so much pressure on Lupita. Every single aspects of her persona is going to be analyzed, scrutinized and debated by the medias, social medias, the fans.

  • Stella


    It’s the fans who started it, specifically Black women (African American) since it appears to be that many of us can’t get our heads unstuck from the ‘hair issue’.

    This girl Lupita has nothing to do with our individual esteem issues but she sure got dragged into them. Sometimes I think that a whole lot of African American women need serious therapy.

  • http://www.patinafitnessmag.con Dorian

    Well said, Stella.

  • MimiLuvs

    @ Lola

    “There is so much pressure on Lupita. Every single aspects of her persona is going to be analyzed, scrutinized and debated by the medias, social medias, the fans.”

    Which is the downside to being a successful actress. I just hope that she have a strong foundation underneath her.


    I share the same sentiment.
    I understand why a certain demographic is excited in seeing Lupita receive so much attention from the media (in regards to the non-acting stuff), but I am a little bit concern that some fans will go overboard. When I say “overboard”, I am talking about the point where Lupita is no longer Lupita, she will become an object for them.

  • MimiLuvs

    For me, hair is political… only on the internet.
    For me, in real life, every woman tends to mind their own business.

  • Eva Wood

    It is so refreshing to hear a young woman speak so wonderfully about her natural hair.

  • lw

    Lupita is such a breath of fresh air! And yes, her hair is political. When was the last time you saw a young, dark-skinned, Black celebrity come out of the gate without ten pounds of weave? And still be considered mainstream enough to have the best designers clamoring to dress her? She is an undeniable natural beauty. Lupita is lovely, talented, gracious, stylish, and intelligent. This is her moment and I could not be more thrilled for her.

  • vintage3000

    @ Stella–There appears to be African women who desperately need to believe Lupita has chosen to distance herself from Black Americans. Even though she has appeared in interviews happily thanking Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg for their influence on her from the Color Purple, and she has never stated any desire to feel superior to Americans.

    It’s not just Black American women who are projecting their issues onto this young lady, so you might want to slow your roll with that.

  • Vag Owner (@ProudVagOwner)

    i wish this was the case. in my current town full of young, college, natural bw and other races i am left alone.

    if i go home to my predominantly black, uneducated town i will be constantly told how i need to perm that ****

  • MzansiQueen

    You are so right Lola. Everything about her is scrutinized. It’s only a matter of time that the same media/fans that praise her, crucify her. If she does something that people think is out of character for her, they will have her for dinner. I love her – I don’t know her.

  • Dea

    My God what a stunning woman, so talented, modest and all around role model. I saw 12 years a slave x3 times.
    Her performance was epic.
    Plus she’s from east Africa, which is where I am from. Bonus point in my world. Lol.

  • Stella


    I’m talking about the ‘hair issue’. You might wanna take up the Oprah/Whoopie with the African women you say have issues.

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