Day 5 Black Panther Actress Lupita Nyong'o: Celebrating Black Dominance

Day 5 Black Panther Actress Lupita Nyong'o: Celebrating Black Dominance

Lupita Nyong'o life and career almost seem unbelievable. Born in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents active in politics, Nyong'o started her career working as part of the production crew for several films. You can Google the production credits of Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener (2005), Mira Nair's The Namesake (2006) and Salvatore Stabile's Where God Left His Shoes (2007) - and you'll find Lupita's name quietly tucked behind producers and assistants.  Being a movie production assistant may have been Lupita fate if it weren't for Ralph Fiennes. Lupita credits Fiennes, the star of The Constant Gardener, as the person who inspired her to pursue her dream of acting.

In 2008 Lupita got her first acting role in a small short firm called "East River," directed by Marc Grey. After landing her first acting job, Lupita got inspired and began working on developing her first film project independently. In 2009 she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary "In My Genes," about the discriminatory treatment of Kenya's albino population. The film was a hit at several film festivals and won prizes for best documentary film. 

Only in her mid-twenties, Lupita had already developed an impressive resume in film, but she wanted more. To hone her skills as an actress, Lupita enrolled herself in a master's degree program in acting at the Yale School of Drama (2009). She graduated in 2013 and landed her first major film role in  Steve McQueen's historical drama 12 Years a Slave ( She played the character Patsey). Her performance earned critical acclaim. In 2015 Lupita star began to shine brighter, catching the eyes of casting directors for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Lupita was cast as a voice actress for the force-sensitive space pirate Maz Kanata. The role was small, but the impact on her career was immense. 

Since staring in Star Wars, Lupita has been cast as Nakia, in the Marvel Studios action superhero film, Black Panther (2017). Earning a role in the film has placed Lupita in a special place black history and world history. Black Panther is the first big budget film with a 100% black cast ( and production crew) ever to be released to the big screen. The depiction of intelligent black people living in a hidden advanced civilization is a story that has never been told in Hollywood. Lupita Nyong'o journey is now apart of that story.

Help celebrate the success Lupita Nyong'o during Black History month by going to see the movie, Black Panther, next week on February 16th.


Khufere Qhamata, is the founder of the SMAART INCUBATOR, a serial entrepreneur, and dedicated futurist. He is chief executive of Leap72, a strategic innovation consultancy advising corporations on how to use startup economics to grow and compete for the future. He is also a co-founder and board member of Academy M, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit specializes in the mentorship and career development of millennials. You can follow him on Linkedin.