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Lupita Nyong'o Is Calling Out Photoshopping For an Important Reason

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Lupita Nyong'o hasn't been one to hold her tongue and the buck does not stop here.

Italy-based beauty and fashion magazine Grazia is feeling the heat today since their cover model, Nyong'o blasted them on her Instagram page late last night.

On what should have been a celebratory day for Lupita and the publication, instead, she found herself saddened by the "Eurocentric" approach the magazine's photographic direction took following her shoot.

In a split-screen montage of three photos, Lupita juxtaposes the printed cover of her photo — in which she appears to be bald — against the original photo, which obviously shows her natural hair pulled back into a ponytail.

"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," wrote Nyong'o. "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, hairstyle and texture."


She ended her statement with the hashtag #dtmh, which translates to "Don't Touch My Hair," an acronym which has been of popular use by women of color in protest of Eurocentric views of beauty since Solange released a song of the same title off her album, "A Seat At The Table." Fittingly, Solange recently used the same hashtag to protest Evening Standard Magazine's reminiscent erasure of her Afrocentric hair on their front cover as well.


Most commenters have echoed Lupita's concerns stating, "This is racist and shameful. Why even invite a beautiful, natural woman if you just wanted to change her?" and congratulating her on speaking up. Still, there are others who have disagreed with her outrage, writing, "You’re a beautiful girl with or without the wild pony tail. Embrace your good fortune to be on the cover. Don’t sweat the small stuff. With all that’s going on in the world and all the deaths I really don’t think this is bad or horrible news. With the click of a mouse the graphic designers can change or alter the subjects design or appearance. As a model you know all this."

It's no surprise that there would be a debate about anything relative to the politics of race and respectability now that we're in the fourth quarter of 2017, but I'd say it's fair for anyone to voice their disapproval about the way in which they are represented. It's so important to call out narrow beauty standards in the media, especially when you have the platform to be heard.

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

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