Rumors have started spreading about Lupita Nyong’o being a diva on Broadway and angering Eclipsed audiences by missing shows. Page Six broke the story yesterday quoting sources close to the play. Other media outlets, including Atlantic Star, Morning USA, BET, and Perez Hilton have since run with the rumors discussing the effects of the actress’ “behavior” on future ventures.
“Wednesdays are her days off, but there was never an announcement, so fans are pissed when they come to the show and she’s not there,” said the insider, who adds that Nyong’o gives “exhaustion or ‘I have a sore toe’?” as excuses for skipping work.
“They were banking on her fame and have not seen a return. The most disrespectful thing is taking off every Wednesday while being seen hanging out with Misty [Copeland]. If you’re too tired to work, stay in bed.” — Page Six
The reality of the situation is this. Telecharge (via Ticketmaster) states that Nyong’o does not perform on Wednesdays, so fans wanting to see her should know ahead of time. (The actress performs in seven shows a week.) The casting of two performers for one role is not abnormal for big plays, including those on Broadway. The same happens in operas. This is nothing new.
Apart from her acting role in Eclipsed, Nyong’o partakes in other ventures, including promotion of the Broadway play and filming for Queen of Katwe, just to name a few. So what is the problem? Can’t a lady have a day off? And since when do others get to dictate what one does on a day off?
These, however, are not the first rumors to start about the actress’ behavior. Last November, media outlets were quoting “sources” who described Nyong’o as an “ice-cold diva” who refuses to speak to her Eclipsed cast mates when not in character (Daily Mail). Then, in December, it spread like wildfire that her role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens had been massively “cut down” because director JJ Abrams was left “unimpressed” (Metro). However, Abrams came to Nyong’o’s defense and slammed those rumors:
The number of rumors floating around about ‘The Force Awakens’ is truly stunning. Some are wonderfully funny, others simply preposterous. But the only one more ridiculous than Jar Jar Binks being a Sith Lord is that I cut Lupita Nyong’o’s performance because it wasn’t satisfactory.
In truth, her performance wasn’t satisfactory. It was spectacular. She has brought the character of Maz Kanata to life in the most wonderful, wise, touching, deep and funny way. Lupita never ceased to amaze me. Yes, we tried many approaches, and we finally landed on just what the film needed. She elevated all the scenes she is in, I’m forever grateful, and can’t wait for people to see her stunning performance. — JJ Abrams for Page Six
Additionally, Nyong’o comes off as the complete opposite of an anti-social, ice-cold diva. The following video is of her playing an April Fools’ prank on her cast mates:
Frankly, all of this unfounded gossip about Nyong’o being a diva makes us wonder if there is a smear campaign against her since she is one of the more successful (black) actresses out there. Throw in dark skin, too?
Coincidentally, in a Lenny letter written last month, Nyong’o shared her thoughts on the criticisms placed on women — especially black women:
I think as women, as women of color, as black women, too often we hear about what we “need to do.” How we need to behave, what we need to wear, what’s deemed as too much or not enough, the cultural politics of what society considers appropriate for us and for our lives. What I am learning is that the most important questions you can ask yourself are “What do I want?” and “Who do I want to become?”
Many of us here can testify to facing such criticisms, which seem to increase with one’s level of professional success and, dare we say, complexion. Nyong’o, being a successful dark skin, black Oscar-winning actress, probably faces even more condemnation, and these rumors appear to support that reality.
Do you think others are being too hard on Lupita? Share your thoughts below!