Ever since actor Lupita Nyong’o has been winning award after award for her performance in the film 12 Years a Slave, everyone has been trying to claim her.
Because since she was born in Mexico, some in that country are claiming Nyong’o, and since she’s now living in Brooklyn and officially a Brooklynite, some in New York are taking credit for her win too.
But probably the place that’s most proud of the 31 year old is her home country of Kenya, as she spent most of her childhood there. Her father Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o is a longtime Kenyan politician.
Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, sent out a tweet after Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, saying not only is he and the entire country extremely proud of her, so is the whole continent of Africa.
“Congratulations on your Oscar win,” wrote Kenyatta. “You are the Pride of Africa.”
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) March 3, 2014
Wanjira Maathai, fellow Kenyan and daughter of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan Nobel Prize winner, said she hoped Nyong’o would walk away with the Oscar, and when she did, most Kenyan’s felt they won something too.
“We all had hoped of course that she would win,” said Maathai at a conference in the United Nations building. “Everybody feels a sudden attachment to her, she’s a Kenyan woman. A lot of her work, a lot of her experience in film started in Kenya.”
In addition, Maathai said Nyong’o is a product of black actresses before her that struggled to break into Hollywood, and without them she wouldn’t have won an Oscar last night, or even had the opportunity to act on a mainstream level.
“She attributes to her sucess to a lot of other black actresses who made her believe she could be something and that she could make it in film,” said Maathai. “And I think it’s so important to have role medels, so important to have people who you can say, ‘Ah, if she made it, maybe I can too.'”
Image via YouTube