Lupita Nyong’o and Trevor Noah had a chat with NY Times, here is the entire conversation

Philip Galanes from NY Times interviewed Hollywood based African TV stars Lupita Nyong’o from Kenya and Trevor Noah from South Africa as they discussed various issues including subtler challenges of diversity, childhoods lived under oppressive governments and a new spin on “The Ugly Duckling.” Peep an excerpt from the original article below and read the entire conversation here

Philip Galanes: Let’s start with #OscarsSoWhite, since we have the last actor of color to win one.

Trevor Noah: He makes you sound like an endangered species.

PG: Isn’t she? There hasn’t been an acting nominee of color in two years.

TN: But as a Hollywood outsider, can I say that asking, “Whose stories are being told?” is a cop-out. Look at the history that’s being taught. People of color have a limited berth in those stories. To a certain extent, we all went through the same thing.

PG: Enslavement?

Lupta Nyong’o: In a film like “12 Years a Slave,” race is of the utmost importance. But there are stories outside the race narrative that everyone can participate in. But we don’t. It’s about expanding our imagination about who can play the starry-eyed one.

TN: Exactly!

LN: We also have to ask ourselves what merits Oscar prestige. Often, they’re period stories. And for people of color, they end up being about slavery or civil rights. A blockbuster won’t do it. Do I have to be in a big Elizabethan gown?

TN: It’s always been a joke about the Oscars: If you want to win, lose weight, gain weight or get ugly, like Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” or Charlize Theron in “Monster.”

LN: Those big leaps of courage.

PG: But even those films were based on true stories.

LN: “True” is a definite advantage.

TN: But also a limitation. We have to keep going back to Martin Luther King or Malcolm X. My question is: Can’t we remove “true story” and go for “amazing story”?

PG: But wouldn’t there still be barriers to diversity? I bet when Lupita told her theater producers that she wanted to do “Eclipsed,” a play about victimized women in Africa, no one yelled hurray.

LN: There’d been talk of bringing that play to New York since 2009, when I understudied in it at Yale. But Lynn Nottage’s play “Ruined” was on then. And there was a feeling that there wasn’t room for two plays about Africa and war to exist at the same time.

TN: God, that’s weird.

LN: I had never seen five African women on stage telling their story — ever! It’s so specific that it captures the universal. I was obstinate about doing it. And when the “12 Years” whirlwind hit, people started to approach me. And the Public Theater took me up on doing it.
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