The photographer, An Le, who captured the photo of Grazia UK’s recent issue with Lupita Nyong’O on the cover, addressed her decision to alter the original photograph today. In a statement, An said she had “time to reflect” on her decision to change the picture.
She explained that it was “an incredibly monumental mistake” and has to apologize to Ms. Nyong’O and everyone else offended by her choice.
However, the offense was not intentional, but the photographer now understands why so many were hurt by her decision to cut out Lupita’s hair in the newest edition of the magazine.
She added, “as an immigrant myself; I must be an advocate for the representation” of female beauty standards in the industry and Le hopes to make better decisions in the future.
Le claimed her decision was “not born out of any hate” but instead, ignorance and insensitivity to the “constant slighting of women of color” throughout all of the media forms in our culture.
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
As you may already know, An Le chopped out Lupita Nyong’O’s ponytail in the latest issue of Grazia UK Magazine.
As a result, Lupita spoke out against the “beauty standards” that value thin hair and light-colored skin.
On her Instagram, she wrote, “I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty,” Nyong’O now knows she is beautiful.
It is important for the actress to feature women with her style and complexion in popular media because it shows others out there that it’s ok to be a minority, and that all shapes, colors, and sizes can be beautiful.