Lupita Nyong’o Is ‘Disappointed’ a Magazine Photoshopped Her Natural Hair, Photographer Responds to Controversy

Lupita Nyong'o
 David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty

UPDATED 11/13/17: An Le, the photographer who shot the Grazia UK pictures, has responded to the controversy in a statement, saying: “I’ve had some time to reflect on my part in the incident involving Grazia and Ms. Nyong’o. I realize now what an incredibly monumental mistake I have made and I would like to take this time to apologize to Ms. Nyong’o and everyone else that I did offend. Though it was not my intention to hurt anyone, I can see now that altering the image of her hair was an unbelievably damaging and hurtful act. As an immigrant myself, it is my duty to be an advocate for the representation of diversity of beauty in this industry. I will demonstrate this in my work even more going forward. My altering of her image was not born out of any hate but instead out of my own ignorance and insensitivity to the constant slighting of women of color throughout the different media platforms. There is no excuse for my actions. I deeply regret the pain I’ve caused Ms. Nyong’o, a woman I’ve admired for quite some time now. Again, I would like to say I’m deeply sorry to everyone I did offend. I want to thank Lupita for addressing this important issue.”

Original story below:

Don’t touch her hair! Lupita Nyong’o is calling out Grazia UK for photoshopping her natural, kinky hair for their magazine cover, and she has the receipts.

The Oscar-winning actress revealed photos on Instagram of the original pics from the shoot, where she’s sporting a ponytail, alongside the final cover image, which shows just her short hair and explained her disappointment.

As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too,” she wrote. “Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.”

“I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like,” Nyong’o continued. “Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh.”

The #dtmh hashtag refers to Solange Knowles’ song “Don’t Touch My Hair”, which celebrates natural hair. Grazia UK gave a confusing statement for the situation, saying, “Grazia is committed to representing diversity throughout its pages and apologizes unreservedly to Lupita Nyong’o. Grazia magazine would like to make it clear that at no point did they make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita N’yongo’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves. But we apologize unreservedly for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that we were made aware of all alterations that had been made.”

These are the only statements released so far on the topic and we’re keeping an eye out for more from the creative team behind the images. This isn’t the first time a magazine has gotten heat for altering her appearance. Vanity Fair also drew criticism in January 2014 after they ran photos of the actress with her skin looking lighter.

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