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Lupita Nyong'o Has No Time For Magazine's 'Eurocentric' Airbrushing

Grazia cut off and smoothed out her curly hair.

11/10/2017 10:39 EST | Updated 11/10/2017 10:39 EST
AFP/Getty Images
Lupita Nyong'o.

Even though it's 2017 and women of all cultures and backgrounds are finally being celebrated for their diverse beauty, it seems that not even an Oscar winner can get away with having natural hair.

On Thursday night, actress Lupita Nyong'o took to social media to criticize Grazia magazine for cutting off, and smoothing out, her curly hair.

Posting photographs on Twitter and Instagram, the 34-year-old "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" star showed what she looked like before and after the editors used Photoshop on her image.

In the before pic, Nyong'o is seen rocking a curly ponytail, while in the after pic, the actress' ponytail is gone, replaced with a smooth, super short crop.

In the caption, Nyong'o explains that the magazine clearly photoshopped her image to "fit a more Eurocentric notion" of beauty.

"Disappointed that @GraziaUK edited out & smoothed my hair to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like. [don't touch my hair]," Nyong'o wrote on Twitter.

In a lengthier Instagram post, the "Black Panther" star wrote that it's important that women of colour be embraced for their beauty, "kinky, coily hair" and all.

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. 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, hair style and texture. #dtmh

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

"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," Nyong'o wrote.

"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, hair style and texture. #dtmh."

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.

In a statement to The Telegraph, a representative of Grazia magazine apologized to the actress for changing her hair type and noted that they didn't "alter" the image. (Even though they clearly did.)

"Grazia is committed to representing diversity throughout its pages and apologises unreservedly to Lupita Nyong'o.

"Grazia magazine would like to make it clear 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. But we apologise unreservedly for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that that we were aware of all alterations that had been made."

After Nyong'o posted her criticism, social media turned out to support the actress.

This incident is far from the first and only time the beauty industry has airbrushed women of colour to fit a specific (namely white) ideal.

Just recently, Solange Knowles called out The London Evening Standard for altering her braids in an image that appeared on the publication's cover. Subsequently, the Standard apologized to the singer for digitally removing her hair.

dtmh @eveningstandardmagazine

A post shared by Solange (@saintrecords) on

In a statement, the Standard said: "The decision to amend the photograph was taken for layout purposes, but plainly we made the wrong call and we have offered our unreserved apologies to Solange."

In that cover story, Solange described how important braiding was to her, noting, "It is an act of beauty, an act of convenience and an act of tradition."

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