If we are being frank, the first time most of us heard about Lupita Nyong’o was the time there was some significant coverage here and there of her documentary on albinism, In My Genes. Then came Shuga. One of the oldest tweet was actually this particular one by African Film Festival.
fight against albinism by supporting In My Genes with director Lupita Nyong’o
— AfricanFilm Festival (@AfricanFilmFest) April 12, 2009
That was then, 5 years ago. Kenyans on Twitter were not really talking about her. In fact, most of the tweets on her documentary were from people abroad.
4 years ago, she starred in Shuga and that now got people talking.
Dunno why, but I find Lupita Nyong’o really good looking. #blackbeauties
— Matrix (@matrixster) December 2, 2009
She did get people’s attention clearly but not as much as now. She was both Supporting Director and star. She does a whole lot of supporting. How loveable! Or maybe she did get attention, but since people had not really embraced social media, and especially Twitter 5 years ago, we did not see it.
She continued to get international attention on this CNN interview which was shared quite a bit.
CNN> ‘Shuga’ star on her American education: “Shuga” actress Lupita Nyong’o talks about her… http://goo.gl/fb/nTU06
— CNN Free Video News (@vnewsen) October 25, 2010
This tweet retweeted from the now inactive @kenyatvproducer account was widely retweeted in 2011, around the time Shuga was aired to the public.
RT @kenyatvproducer: Retweet if you think Lupita Nyong’o is a brilliant actress… #nw shuga
— kiki ♐ (@gaxilicious) January 23, 2011
There were haters too then, especially on the beauty issue. The tweets going around then were a complete contrast – those claiming bald is ugly while they were the few who hit back at these ones with natural-beauty-rocks tweets. Tweets about Lupita joining the 12 Years a Slave cast hit the Twitterverse in 2012. Of course not from Kenyans (although a number did share the news). The accounts that tweeted about her had just heard about her and were Googling her out as evident from the link in this tweet.
Enter 2013. She got a mention or two in the #SomeoneTellNigeria feud. Kenyan tabloids picked up the news and basically set the ground for the sensation Lupita is on social media building up to the Oscars.
#SomeoneTellNigeria we have Edi Gathegi & Lupita Nyong’o while they’re stuck with Ramsey Noodles and Geneveve
— moshe namai (@moshe_II) March 21, 2013
Today, Lupita Nyong’o is the talk of the globe. The only difference is that Kenyans have been talking before this Oscar and recent publicity. Talk on social media ranges from inspiration to quips about the whole affair, even from people who are yet to watch the movie.
These have photoshopped images of Lupita and created memes that would probably not be comprehensible to someone beyond our borders but will send Kenyans rolling on the floor laughing. She has become the epitome of how women should wear their hair; ditch the weaves, men say.
Today, her Oscar happened to coincide with the announcement of KCSE 2014 results and so KOT wasted no time.
Huddah be like:Congratulations Lupita Nyong’o top female candidate in KCSE, you’ve made kenya proud hahaha
— Dede★★Genius (@DedeJujo) March 3, 2014
Kenyans on Facebook took a whack at it too.
Corporates and brands were not to be left out of this one. Cash in!
And the leaders…
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) March 3, 2014
Somehow the haters (in Kenya) took a back seat this time but there was one particular one who took a bashing for spoiling the party early in the morning. And then ended up explaining what he meant after that.
Lupita Ny’ongo, 12 Years a Slave, Oscars 2014, Luo, Kenyan and Pride of Africa were still trending by the time this post went up, all thanks to Lupita and her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Lupita, Lupita… meanwhile people are starving in Turkana.
— Ian Cox (@IanECox) March 3, 2014
Let us see how the conversation goes even as the movie Non-Stop in which she features alongside Liam Neeson hits our Kenyan screens.