Lupita Nyong’o Subtly Checks Vogue for White-Washing Her African-Inspired Met Gala Hairdo

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Lupita Nyong'o Instagram
Lupita Nyong’o Instagram

Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o had one of the most memorable looks at this week’s Met Gala, and she boldly showcased her culture with her hair on the red carpet. But when a white publication proclaimed she was inspired by Audrey Hepburn, the Tony Award nominee had to correct them.

On May 2, Nyong’o spoke with Andre Leon Talley on the Gala red carpet about her hair influence. She said it was inspired by “the sculptural hairdos from all around the [African] continent,” to which Tally responded, “It’s beautiful.” Tally – who is Black – is the former Vogue editor-in-chief.

The Tally interview was posted on the publication’s website. The May 3 article notes that the “Eclipse” actress referenced “The Matrix” and singer Nina Simone in her look, but yet they point to Hepburn’s 1963 photo shoot as Nyongo’s muse.

In response to the misleading article, the star used Instagram to strike back. She posted a video featuring several pictures of African women and Simone donning sculpted hairstyles.  A photo of her look from the dinner event sits alongside the images.

Hair Inspiration. Check. @vernonfrancois @voguemagazine #metball2016

A video posted by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

She tagged the fashion magazine in the post along with a Met Ball hashtag. The caption simply reads, “Hair Inspiration. Check,” a small dig at the publication.

Also tagged was the stylist she credits for the updo, Vernon François. He reposted the image on his own account afterwards. A look on the international hairstylist’s Instagram page reveals a large portion of his work is dedicated to Black clients with textured hair. He has also crafted wigs for Uzo Aduba, star of “Orange is The New Black.”

François is responsible for several of Nyongo’s most popular hair styles. They include her iconic close-cropped, side parted look and longer styles like a banded afro puff she wore to “The Jungle Book” movie premiere last month.

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