That communities in this country hate each other is no longer a secret. That politicians, through actions such as tribal favouritism and ethnic appointments exacerbate these feelings are also true. But that the same Kenyans are now on talents, castigating fellow citizens simply because of artistic achievement, is sad.
Did Lupita Nyong’o, daughter to the current Harvard-based Go Brutland Scholar Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o deserve the Hollywood accolades she recently received? The question itself is even outrageous. Who, if anyone, designs what certain people should achieve?
Sadly, I have read across different blogs as Kenyans, some who even claim to be in the diaspora and are Luos, the ethnic family of the Nyong’os, make a mockery of female Myong’o’s achievement.
Sample this, a ‘critic’ by one Â Dr Fred Shamalla Masinde who claims to be a resident (sic) of Brookyln
“Lupita does not have IT. At her age if she had IT she would be a Hollywood star by now. There are not many roles suiting her “here I come straight-out-of-the-jungle” ethnic looks-I guess that’s why she is in a Slavery Movie. I wonder how many slavery movies are created by Hollywood per year.Lupita can continue hanging out with wazungu thinking they love her but the truth is that in big screen, she cannot play any other role but slave related..So I understand that Miss Malaika Lupita thinks she is the best thing on earth but the truth is the opposite. Hollywood is a different beast.She is not even the main character in that movie.Hollywood is the most cutthroat club in the world. It is extremely difficult to cut it in Hollywood if you started your career playing slave roles.
Will Smith became a Hollywood star by first building his own fan base (in hip hop and Fresh Prince of Bel’Air)–So Will always had millions of fans that would see his movies before he even tries to get more fans. Tupac would have been a Hollywood star because he also had his own loyal fan base. Of course both Tupac and Will are also great actors. Unfortunately for Lupita, her looks doesn’t help. Hollywood likes Halle Berry looks. At least for women, being charcoal dark doesn’t help. For men, dark is good. Eddie Murphy opened the doors for the darkest of black men to become super stars. Darkness is sexinesss if you are a dude; if you are a lady, Halle Berry is the standard.
If we must have a Nyong’o in Hollywood, Issis has IT. Believe me when I say this: I am doing this as a form of tough love..Some of us lived in our cars chasing our dreams before breaking into this American society…Lupita goes to Hollywood she is gonna start from the bottom..She ain’t a star; You’ve got to be a realist..Tough love.Lets not celebrate Lupita prematurely. She is like an intern that just landed a gig with Google. You can’t go around saying that the intern is a successful technology visionary. That’s all I am saying.It is not the best thing to be great in slave movies because the “greater you are” the more likely you will only be typecast in those types of movies..Even Djimon Hounsou gets to play mostly African-related roles.. not many movies are about slaves, blood diamonds, Amin, etc. It is not easy for dark Africans to succeed in Hollywood. The roles they can play are limited to Africa. But, I wish Lupita and all them African actors great success.”Â
Not only do we get no critique of Nyong’o from this bitter man but one gathers a collection of personal frustrations of someone who has lived in Brooklyn (Where Nyong’o went to study and currently resides) and is pathetically jealous of the meteorite rise of the young actress. Sadly, this vendetta, cobbled with ‘Americanised ghetto English, like ‘gonna’ and such other crap, is coming from an old man who claims he is doing it as a form of ‘tough love’. Jeez!
Did Nyong’o begin in Hollywood? Now, this tax evasive diasporan probably has not watched Shuga, a film on HIV/AIDS shot here at home, in Nairobi, and which Lupita Nyong’o directed. Which other film in Kenya is comparable? Nada!
This kind of malice reeks of ethnic vendetta. It is even doubtful whether the Fred Masinde Shamalla exists in ‘real life’ as Fred Shamalla Masinde. Sadly, because Kenyans cannot get hold of the film which is being screened in selected theatres in the United States, any rumour, innuendo, half-truth and whatnot can be patched up as ‘critique’ and sold back here at home as ‘expert opinion’.
Lupita Nyong’o embodies a struggle every young Kenyan, save for a few children of certain filthy rich politicians and corporate thieves, go through. Her only mistake, apparently, is that she is LUPITA NYONG’O!
In film and theatre industry, there is no skills patronage. You either have it or not. Yes, Nyong’o may have been given a ludicrous role in the film but SO WHAT? She was a slave but yes, she could have been a slave. She’s black, she’s African. She still performed it to her best!
Shamalla’s accusations and empty rants does not dispute this.That she re-enacted her script with meticulous flare. He is only concerned with cheap and silly sideshows, like who Lupita posed with to take a photo. Useless. Idiotic. Shameless!
In fact, wasn’t it just recently when a prominent Kenyan holding a very important position was denied a photo session with some European leader? Yes, we don’t care. Lupita posed with Brad Pit and that is it! If anything, how many girls her age back here at home would die to have a photo with the likes of “Mwalimu Wanjiru” or those Tahidi High clandestines? OMG!
Shamalla for all your years at Brookyln and your critiques, where are the books? Where are the respected journals your criticisms have been published? A useless, faceless man hiding in the United States, probably as broke as the Jubilee government, or Zimbabwe, claiming that the achievement (however small) of Lupita is nothing to write home about.
Is this man aware that other Lupita’s peers are busy getting married off to old jerks or straddle the red corridors of Sabina Joy or Simmers or Koinange street peddling K*m*? Is this man aware that here at home, every hamlet and alley and boulevard is littered with skinny women or obese blondes who at some point when they were 12 or 25 or 28 had dreamt of acting and making it big on TV only to land in shit? Is he aware?
I am not holding brief for Ms Nyong’o simply because I share the tribe (no apologies) but I would have done it for any young Kenyan out there facing inordinate and egregious accusations by old men whose penises are wrinkled with both historical, social and academic failures of their time and age.
I would have criticised Nyong’o too had she been mediocre in her performance. I did so to one Julie Wang’ombe who got overrated for writing a shallow speech for President Kenyatta. I am a perfectionist. But when we criticise, it is only fair to use the substance delivered by our objects, not use our own selfishness and epic failings to build useless castles.
Lupita is doing us proud, at least, she is doing me proud. Anyone out there with contrary opinion, zaa msichana wako we see how she manages in Hollywood.
Tough love my foot! Jaber when you are through come home we celebrate Gor K’ogallo. GINIWASEKAO!
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