Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o announced on Twitter last month that her best-selling children’s book, Sulwe, will be adapted into an animated musical by Netflix.
Sulwe (2019), written by Nyong’o with illustrations by Vashti Harrison, tells the story of a young girl who has skin “the color of midnight.” Sulwe wishes she was bright and beautiful like her sister whose skin is “the color of high noon.” One night, a star comes to Sulwe in a dream to tell her the story of Night and Day, two sisters who love each other just as they are.
Nyong’o, who will produce the film, explained in a statement that Sulwe reflects her own struggles with colorism, beauty, and self-love, and that she is thrilled to bring it to the screen for children around the world.
Growing up, I was uncomfortable in my dark skin. I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in the aspirational pages of books and magazines, or even on TV. It was a long journey for me to arrive at self-love. Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves, a window for those who may not be familiar with colorism, to have understanding and empathy, and an invitation for all who feel different and unseen to recognize their innate beauty and value. I am thrilled that the book is being adapted into an animated musical that we hope inspires children all around the world to celebrate their uniqueness.
Nyong’o has yet to announce a director, composer, or release date for the animated musical.
Click below to watch Lupita Nyong’o read Sulwe for the Netflix series, Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices.