Monday, March 3, 2014

Lupita Won the Oscar...Not You

Yesterday, Lupita Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the movie 12 Years a Slave. It was special. So many people were happy, especially black people. As a lover of storytelling and someone who watched the film, I think she did a great job and it is no surprise to me that she won (FYI, I knew of Lupita's work before this movie and was struck by her talent). The problem is that her win has confused a lot of black people and encouraged them to get even more comfortable in their lives, which I believe is dangerous. You see, 

Lupita won the Oscar…not you. 

Black people have become sensationalized with Lupita and the acceptance/praise she’s been receiving from Hollywood. Many black women have been saying things like, “Lupita is such an inspiration for all little black girls!” or “Lupita’s win is a win for all black people!” Yes, of course Lupita’s work and achievement is an inspiration for many. No, her win is not a win for all black people; it’s a win for Lupita. 

Lupita won the Oscar…not you.

Lupita had faith in her dreams. Lupita did her work. Lupita showed interest in acting and decided to pursue it as her craft. Lupita went to Yale Drama School and studied her craft. Lupita worked on other lesser-known projects in the past, learning along the way and paying her dues. Lupita did those things, not you. The question now is, “what are YOU doing?” What dream lies in your heart that you are pursuing? What ways are you choosing daily to exercise your talents and brush up your skills? What ways are you choosing daily to make a difference in your world, to those who see you and relate to you?

Lupita won the Oscar…not you. 

After two week of this Lupita frenzy, you will notice that so many of the same women cheering and drinking with glee at her win will return back to their unhappy, unfulfilled lives. They will curse and moan about how unfair life is, how much Lupita’s win hasn’t really changed anything for black people, and how we all have to start “facing reality”. They won’t get up and do better with their lives. How do I know? It has happened before. Lupita is not the first dark-skinned black woman to be publicly adored. We’ve had Dr. Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey and Alek Wek and Oluchi Onweagba and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and a host of others. All these women have been publicly recognized and praised, in the past and of current, yet how many black women do you know that still complain and behave as if people/life are “coming at them”? Exactly. 

Lupita won the Oscar…not you. 

Don’t just sit around partying and drinking because Lupita won an Oscar. Get up and figure out what YOU are supposed to do with your life. Hint: it’s also known as your God-given purpose. Let Lupita serve as a reminder that wishing won’t work but action will. You shouldn’t rest on the laurels of Lupita’s success (or that of anyone else honestly). You shouldn’t be content waiting another 5-10 years to see another black girl/woman applauded by Hollywood, or any other industry, to know that you are valuable (applaud comes and goes; it’s fickle). You should remember that you are created to fulfill your God-given purpose and positively impact the lives of others in a great way. So, do that. 

Lupita won the Oscar…not you.

Stop complaining about lack of time or lack of opportunities – it’s an illusion. We all have the SAME 24 hours in a day. You, me, Lupita, Oprah, and The Dalai Lama. Yet, some stay productive and others don’t. What does that mean? It means people make time for what they want to make time for. If it’s important to you, you will MAKE time for it. If it’s important to you, you will cut your gossip time with your friend on the phone down from 3 hours and do something more valuable instead. As for opportunities, don’t let others deceive you. It doesn’t matter what odds are against you. It doesn’t matter who isn’t wishing you well or who doesn’t believe in you. It doesn’t matter who tells you ‘NO’. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. (ALL successful people have either had the odds against them or doubters or been told ‘NO’ or failed.) The only thing that matters is that you have the belief that with God you can do anything, and you are committed to living out your God-approved vision(s) – no matter how long it takes. If you do not have the belief or the willingness to commit, then you won’t see your desired results. 

Lupita won the Oscar…not you.

You don’t need Lupita to win another award for you to know you can be a winner. You don’t get to attribute your success to that of Lupita’s. Do your own work. Have your own faith in God. Believe in the importance of your own purpose. Walk towards your own vision(s) in life. Impact your world in your own way. Enjoy and live your own great life. And remember, 

Lupita won the Oscar…not you. 

So, go and win in your own life/:


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4 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this post, and it totally applies to everyone (except maybe lupita, oprah and the dalai lama I suppose)... haven't seen the movie yet (because I just picked up the book and need to read it first) Great blog!

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    1. Thank you Sara!

      Like you said, this issue does apply to everyone because people across the racial board have an attitude of complacency in their lives and sensationalism of others.

      I hope you find the book a great read and follow-up with the movie/:

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  2. Great, truth-filled post. A lot of us are living mediocre lives and trying to live vicariously through others successes, without trying ourselves to succeed in our own right.

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    1. Thank you Berry! I started paying more attention to this behavior in recent years (in my own life as well) and it just hit me at how dangerous it is for us to put so much stock in other people. It can make us too comfortable and possibly dissuade us from achieving better in our own lives.

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