Lupita Nyong’o is disappointed that Grazia magazine edited out her natural hair on the cover of its November 2017 issue.
Photographed for the United Kingdom publication, the actress, who next stars in Marvel’s Black Panther, appears to be sporting a shaved head. However, as the 34-year-old shared in an Instagram featuring original outtakes and the final version, she actually had her hair pulled back into a low ponytail.
Nyong’o expressed in the post that, as she has repeatedly made clear, “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.”
The actress, who’s graced influential magazines all over the world — including Vogue, Elle,Glamour, and more — noted that she does so because it "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."
However, she continued, "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." She concluded, "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".
Grazia UK responded with a statement, apologizing unreservedly for its actions and noting that it’s “committed to representing diversity throughout its pages.” The magazine added that “at no point did they make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita Nyong’o’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves.”
This isn’t the first time Nyong’o, who was born in Mexico but spent her childhood in Kenya, has faced the digital manipulation of her appearance or a misunderstanding of her choices. When she appeared on the January 2014 cover of Vanity Fair, social media users noticed that her dark skin looked noticeably lighter.
Additionally, after Vogue said that her 2016 Met Gala hair inspiration came from Audrey Hepburn, she took to Instagram to correct the publication.