Today, Sesame Street released a video on its YouTube page starring Elmo and Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o. In it, Elmo and Lupita talk about the importance of skin, with Elmo eventually observing that Lupita's skin is a "beautiful brown color." Lupita later in the video replies that "I love my skin," even inspiring a hashtag of the phrase on her Facebook page.
As incredibly moving and eloquent as Lupita always is, this moment definitely hit home for me. As a dark-skinned, African-American woman, I once went through a phase of thinking that I was not beautiful or was less beautiful than my peers because of my complexion, something Lupita also referred to in her speech at Essence's Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon earlier this year. With love and support from family and friends, I overcame this ordeal, but I know that there are still plenty of other girls and women out there that are suffering from this dilemma.
We are all beautiful - black, white, Asian, Hispanic, light-skinned, dark-skinned and every shade in-between - and we all should know that. Society or outside forces should not define what we think is acceptable or beautiful - you, as you are right now, in this moment, are beautiful.
Lupita, for me, embodies this uplifting message and not even a slew of accolades, including an Oscar, could further define that for her; it only complements such beauty and grace.
Video via Sesame Street's YouTube Page