Natural Haircare CEO Backs Lupita Nyong’o For Leading Charge for Media to Embrace Natural Hair

"Lupita looks better with her natural texture"

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Miko Branch says Lupita’s favorite Miss Jessie’s product is Baby ButterCreme(Courtesy of Miss Jessie’s/Grazia/An Le)

The founder of a natural hair care company believes Lupita Nyong’o’s natural kinks and coils suit her just fine. Miko Branch, the CEO of Miss Jessie’s, told Atlanta Black Star when she learned about a UK magazine changing Nyong’o’s hair that the consensus is that Black people love the “Black Panther” star’s natural hair.

“When I think of where we came from and where we are now, we’ve made a lot of progress and I see more to come,” Branch said. “Are there areas of improvement? Absolutely. That’s [publishers’] artistic and creative control and perhaps they can do what they want to do. The good news is maybe it might be your opinion or my opinion [that] Lupita looks better with her natural texture so I think that that could be the large consensus on what we like to see.”

After Nyong’o criticized Grazia for changing her looks to fit “a more Eurocentric notion” of beautiful hair, the magazine apologized for removing her coily ponytail from its cover.

Grazia issued a statement Friday, Nov. 10 saying it gives “apologies unreservedly” to the Oscar winner.

By Monday, Nov. 13, An Le, a Vietnamese New York-based photographer who shot Nyong’o’s cover, said he made “an incredibly monumental mistake” by editing the image and apologized to Nyong’o and the people he offended.

“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,” he said in a statement obtained by The Guardian. “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.

“There is no excuse for my actions,” he added. “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.”

Ahead of the apologies, Lupita expanded on her remarks on Instagram, saying that she adores being on magazine covers as it provides a chance for her to represent for natural-haired women.

“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,” the Kenyan-born starlet wrote.


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“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, hairstyle and texture.”

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

Branch sang Nyong’o’s praises for the way the actress represents the natural hair community.

“When I see Lupita, who actually is a huge Miss Jessie’s fan — she actually loves baby butter creme — and she’s shown media love,” she said. “We’ve seen Lupita show up in magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, which isn’t largely marketed to us but Lupita very proudly let that media platform know that these are the products that she loves.”

Nyong’o also won lots of support from Twitter users.

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