Lupita Nyong’o is set to star in “The Queen of Katwe,” a film that is inspired by a 2011 ESPN article and book by Tim Crothers.
The film is based off of the story of the Ugandan chess prodigy, Phiona Mutsia. Mira Nair will direct the film. In addition to Nyong’o who plays the role of Mustia’s mother, the film will also star the newcomer and Kenyan actress Madina Nalwanga as Mutsia and David Oyelowo as Robert Katende, Mutsia’s coach. This film is a monumental for Hollywood and the women of color who are involved in the industry.
Time and time again, Hollywood has been criticized for its lack of diversity. It’s a fact that many directors and writers have accepted and refuse to change. In 2014, according to a study conducted by University of Southern California’s Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative, 98.1% of the film directors were male.
Two years later, to have a film directed by a woman of color and furthermore starring two women of color is an important step forward. The manner in which women of color are presented on screen is changing. They are gaining more control of how their stories are told and constructed. No longer will they have to wait for someone else to tell their stories through an unfamiliar lens.
In the past there have been Black actresses who challenged Hollywood’s diversity. Before there was Dorothy Dandridge, then there was Halle Berry, but now we’re in the age of Lupita Nyong’o . We have watched Nyong’o flourish as a talented and successful actress. However, for Nyong’o, this movie is personal to her in a way that we haven’t yet seen in her films.
Originally from Kenya, Nyong’o is familiar with her next-door neighbor, Uganda. She understands the struggle of living in the slums of Katwe. Within this struggle in “The Queen of Katwe” is the story of hope that is fuelled by dreams.
“The Queen of Katwe” will be released in the Fall of 2016.
Photo credit: Flickr/Gordon Correll