Actress Lupita Nyong’o called out Grazia magazine on Twitter last night for Photoshopping her natural hair to fit what she says are “more Eurocentric” beauty ideals. The original image, which Nyong’o posted beside the Photoshopped cover photo, shows her hair pulled back in a low, curly ponytail. In the altered image, her hair has been smoothed out and the ponytail removed.
In a longer post on Instagram Nyong’o wrote: “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 fulfils 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 Grazia UK 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.”
Nyong’o is far from the first to call the entertainment and fashion industries out for their inability or unwillingness to style and present natural Black hair. Last month, Solange criticised the London Evening Standard for digitally altering her hair on their cover, and model Londone Myers uploaded a video of herself backstage at a fashion show being passed over by stylist after stylist who didn’t know how to properly style her hair.
Graziaresponded to Nyong’o’s statement, saying: “Grazia is committed to representing diversity throughout its pages and apologizes 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 [sic] unreservedly for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that we were aware of all alterations that had been made.”