Yesterday afternoon I was standing in Malaga airport duty free shop waiting to pay for some perfume.
I looked up and this poster display caught my eye
A beautiful picture of Lupita Nyong’o opposite Penelope Cruz. The first thought that came to mind was “if only she had been around when I was growing up”. I think I was referring to growing up in England in the 80’s and 90’s where I do not recall seeing many images of black girls and women that looked like me, that I could relate to and would increase my sense of inclusion. I remember that images that I was exposed to at that time were either negative or not true to my own experience. I recall that many of the images of black woman that I was exposed to via the TV screens and advertising posters were of women with lighter skin and straighter hair than my own. I know that despite my parents best efforts, on some level as a girl and young woman growing up, I internalised those images, making me feel that I just did not ‘belong’. Of course I became older and wiser and my thoughts and feelings changed but I often wonder what I my younger self image would have been like if there had been more pictures like Lupita around.