Netflix to adapt Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
James R | On 19, Feb 2021
Netflix is bringing Sulwe, the kids’ book by Lupita Nyong’o, to the screen.
A picture book about colourism, self-esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within, Sulwe follows the titular young girl. “Sulwe’s skin is the colour of midnight. She’s darker than everyone in her family, and everyone at school,” reads the blurb. “All she wants is to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey through the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.”
Nyong’o and illustrator Vashti Harrison sought to inspire children to see their own unique beauty. Their book was published in 2019 and has since become a bestseller. Now, it’s heading to the screen, with Netflix greenlighting an animated musical based on the book.
“The story of Sulwe is one that is very close to my heart,” Nyong’o said in a statement. “Growing up, I was uncomfortable in my dark skin. I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in the aspirational pages of books and magazines, or even on TV. It was a long journey for me to arrive at self-love. Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves, a window for those who may not be familiar with colorism, to have understanding and empathy, and an invitation for all who feel different and unseen to recognize their innate beauty and value. I am thrilled that the book is being adapted into an animated musical that we hope inspires children all around the world to celebrate their uniqueness.”
The actor recently read the book as part of Netflix’s series Bookmarks, which premiered on last year and featured Black celebrities and artists reading children’s books from Black authors.
The project joins a growing number of high-profile kids’ movies and TV series in the works at Netflix, including Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon and Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild. It also follows the Oscar nomination picked up by Netflix’s Klaus, and the release of Glen Keane’s Over the Moon last October.