Last night, Lupita N’yongo became the seventh black woman to win an Oscar award exactly 75 Years after Hattie McDaniel became the first. Nyong’o, who wore a Prada pastel blue floor-length gown with a full skirt and plunging neckline and was surrounded by her 12 Years A Slave co-stars and little brother. as she sat waiting for the Best Supporting Actress winner to be announced.
As Nyong’o’s name was called, she hugged her brother, Steve McQueen and other co-stars. The crowd stood to their feet. Steve McQueen’s watery eyes and joy he had on his face, was just a sample of the emotion going through the crowd.
To say that Nyong’o’s speech was one of the best of the night would be an understatement:
Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.
Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life. [Tears, applause.] I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.
Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into Solomon, telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you — I could not be here without your work.
I want to thank my family, for your training [laughs] and the Yale School of Drama as well, for your training. My friends the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother Junior sitting by my side, thank you so much, you’re my best friend and then my other best friend, my chosen family.
When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.
This weekend was an amazing one for Nyong’o. On top of celebrating her birthday on Saturday and winning the Independent Spirit Award, she has given millions of little girls a new role model to look up to, not only because of her talent and beauty, but also her education.
Every little black girl in the world needs to have “…No matter where you’re from your dreams are valid” painted in their bedrooms, stitched on their backpacks, written in their notebooks, just to remind them that greatness is possible and dreams do come true.