My Conflicted Feelings on Lupita Nyong’o’s Invisibility in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

I will admit: one of the major draws for me to go and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the fact that Lupita Nyong’o would be in the film. In trying to avoid spoilers, I didn’t realize that she would not be appearing as her physical self but as a little red-skinned alien with thick goggles named “Maz Kanata.” I let out an audible “aw nawl” when I heard Nyong’o’s voice but didn’t see her gorgeous face and skin. I immediately thought to myself, “Of course. There are only two prominent Black characters in the movie and the Black woman ends up invisibilized and made into an alien. This is Princess and the Frog all over again.” But, in a recent interview with Buzzfeed News, Nyong’o said that she wanted a role where her body would not be front-and-center, a perplexing assertion which left me conflicted about my initial reaction.


This 3-minute video sums up institutional racism in the United States

A lot of folks struggle with the idea that systemic racism actually exists. This video from Brave New Films details why this confusion is completely unfounded.

Black folks still struggle to get employment even with the same qualifications as Whites. Black folks are still preyed upon by private businesses and loan officers. And, sadly, Black people are still targeted for petty crimes like marijuana possession at much higher rates than Whites?

This film simply asks: If this isn’t racism, what is?