The news of award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o staring on a limited series ‘Americanah’, which is based on Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name, has elicited mixed reactions on the internet.
This is following a Friday announcement by HBO Max that it had made a 10-episode adaptation order of the novel from Lupita’s longtime passion project.
The actress, with a Luo descent, is a daughter to Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o. She was born in Mexico where her father was teaching. However, she was raised in Kenya before proceeding to the United State to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Film and theater at Hampshire College.
In the series, American actress, Danai Gurira, who starred together with Lupita in the blockbuster Marvel film “Black Panther.” will write the pilot and serve as showrunner.
‘Americanah’ tells the story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze.
Living in a military-ruled country, they each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be black.
Obinze, son of a professor, had hoped to join her in US, but with post-9/11 in America, he is denied a visa. He goes to London, eventually becoming an undocumented immigrant after his visa expires.
According to a section of Nigerian critics, Lupita should not have been featured in the production.
They argue that there are so many talented actresses in the country who should have taken the role.
“Why tf is Lupita in this if she’s not Igbo or Nigerian? This is literally like having a Japanese person play a Korean person..makes no sense, ” Halimee reacted.
she added, “The whole point is that there are a lot of Nigerian actors who would have PERFECTLY executed the role and Lupita being cast just shows that the story isn’t respected enough bc they just gave the role to their go-to “African” girl…
“The story is of Nigeria and a Nigerian, was written by a Nigerian and it’s only right to honour the author by portraying the story the closest they can to the book.”
Why tf is Lupita in this if she’s not Igbo or Nigerian? This is literally like having a Japanese person play a Korean person..makes no sense https://t.co/kVFEoUPxZ3
— Li🌚 (@halimee102) September 14, 2019
Another tweep wrote, “How bout Yvonne orji? Since she actually igbo and Nigerian why can’t she play it? SMH”
Donis said, “Seriously? Use an Igbo actress dammit I can’t deal,I feel the forced Igbo accent already.”
“But we have a whole Nigerian actress who speaks the Igbo language and has the actual accent. We LOVE Lupita, but please give @GenevieveNnaji1 this role. Thank you, ” Nena said.
However, some Kenyans and other netizens, who reacted to the conversation noted that Lupita’s prowess earned her the role.
“Someone needs some schooling. An actor can play any role. Moreover @Lupita_Nyongo
is the best there is out there. Shouldn’t you be proud that it’s even an real African who has gotten that role? In most cases it’s African American who finds it hard getting the accent right, ” Peet Home wrote.
Dave opined, “If your Naija actors in Hollywood who have had a 20 year career cant do better to earn themselves an oscar let @Lupita_Nyongo do it,,,,just sit down and be humble.”
Some argued that Lupita will feature in the series not as a Kenyan but an African actress, further, adding that the bashing and community profiling is behind xenophobic attacks in South Africa that needed to stop.
“This nonsense is the big cause of xenophobia. Ya’ll can’t appreciate each other as Africans. If Lupita appears in a Hollywood , she represents Africa and not some region. We are one, ” Kariuki tweeted.
Y'all are trying to tell me that you couldn't find any black actor of Nigerian origin to play ifemelu? Love Lupita but surely Yvonne Orji is available as are other Nigerians out there in Hollywood, why always lupita whenever anyone African is required for a role, be diverse 🤷
— Bamiyo (@fribone) September 14, 2019
Here are more of the reactions.
Ummh they gave the role to her because there is no actress in Nigeria who is good enough!! I mean what do you expect from a person who puts poison on food and tests it to see if the poison is enough???😂🤷🏼♂️🤷🏼♂️
— DWAYNE DUNCAN HAGONDI (@DHagondi) September 15, 2019
Let our pretty Kenyan lady be,dont dare touch @Lupita_Nyongo you will be dealing with the whole +254..we may even propose her to be your president…ogah madam project your anger to SA i beg.😤😤
— Willis Orucho🇰🇪🇰🇪 (@WILLWIZZY93) September 15, 2019
they ain't interested in UNKNOWN VILLAGER to star in a MOVIE BUSINESS to GENERATE LOTS OF INCOME. UNDERSTAND ECONOMICS before screaming 'our people'
— Teddy Lumidi (@TeddyLumidi) September 14, 2019
Exactly what S.Africans are doing to your fellow brothers in S.A. Your Myopic view ignores what is called Merit. You wanna pull Lupita down? Suckers? Let Nollywood sponsor its own movies and in that you'll make the rules.
— Son of a Teacher. (@eduh_G) September 15, 2019
She's out here representing our beautiful nation called Kenya😍….and there's nothing you can do about it
— Richard Mugi Muthoni (@mugi_richard) September 15, 2019
When SA complained of Nigerians taking their business, you guys came crying that we are all Africans.
— Austin Tunoi (@TunoiAustin) September 15, 2019
But I believe east Africa was content when lion King cast had no musician from the region. Let's stop this and embrace each African for who we are. Infact lupita acting a role of a Nigerian is just diversity. And we wonder what xenophobia is!!!
— Opulin Tom (@Okisegeretom) September 15, 2019
Because there is literally no Nigerian actor/actress that has made it in Hollywood. So take several sits back and appreciate that they casted a real African and not an African American.
— POLAR! (@PolarAmondi) September 15, 2019
I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under, but you must not be American to play an American, British to play a Brit or Nigerian to play a NIgerian. Take Idris Elba’s performance in ‘Beasts of No Nation’ as your case study.
— Chuka.J (@gymclassc_) September 15, 2019