Twitter storm over Lupita role in Nigerian movie

Kenyans and Nigerians on Twitter engaged in a bitter war of words over Lupita's role.

In Summary

• Lupita said it was an "honour to bring Ms Adichie's brilliant book to the screen".

• Nigerians, however, were displeased with the casting citing that the movie will lack an authentic Nigerian accent.

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o
Image: FILE

Kenyans and Nigerians on Twitter on Sunday engaged in a bitter war of words over actress Lupita Nyong'o's role in a Nigerian movie.

The public spat between Kenyans and Nigerians on Twitter was triggered by the decision to have Nyong'o play a Nigerian character in the movie adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s novel, Americanah.

The oscar award winner was on Friday selected by the movie's producer, Warner Media Entertainment, to act as a lead character in a movie that centres on two Nigerians who fall in love but find themselves separated by immigration issues.


In a statement, Nyong'o said it was an "honour to bring Ms Adichie's brilliant book to the screen".

Nigerians, however, were displeased with the casting citing that the movie will lack an authentic Nigerian accent.

Twitter user Duke Edoho wondered, "They need to stop doing this. We have fine actresses from Nigeria who can play these roles better. Lupita is good but try other people who are Nigerians. What, she’s going to be told or taught how to speak Half-baked Igbo instead of A real Nigerian?"

Ray Ofure said, "When you can - You would go for the best. Lupita playing that role will suffer one thing and one thing. The “Igbo” accent."

Ekenechukwu said, "I wish they cast a Nigerian actress. I love Americanah and Lupita but I just want to hear an authentic Nigerian accent."

Able bae said, "Lol you see my problem with these feminists. Why is Lupita playing the role of an Igbo girl? Am I not brown enough to play the role?"


Kenyans hit back at the Nigerians defending the actress saying Lupita is talented and Americanna being a fiction movie does not require accents.

"Lupita Nyong'o is the best actress from Africa. Nigerians let this sink Deep.  Let's show some love to Lupita," Waruhiu Franklin said.

Twitter users Bravin and Moseax said when the casting of Lion King was made and many Nigerians were picked, Kenyans did not react to it.

"When the Lion King album was being made, so many Nigerian artists made it to the list & no Kenyan artist was put on the list let alone any East African Artist. So you all Nigerians have so many double standards. Lupita is a dope actress & you can't compare her to Genevieve Nnaji," Bravin tweeted.

"Good morning Nigerians, Lion king was an East African thing, but you were happy about your musicians being on it! anyway Hakuna Matata! Let our Lupita prosper in peace, I know some of your actors have been acting since I was a kid but the furthest they have gone is Lagos!" Moseax said.

Asuma Anyeko said, "Several Nigerians complaining of one acting an Igbo accent, but when SA is complaining of several Nigerians taking their 'jobs' in their motherland SA, it's when Nigerians remember that we are all Africans."

George Kerio asked, "So Nigerians are now complaining because Lupita Nyong'o is acting with an Igbo accent in the Americanah movie? Be warned, we aren't South Africans! Your girls are busy acting witchcraft movies and dramas yet you expect them to outshine Lupita in this game? "

Americanah movie will be made by Brad Pitt's company Plan B, producers of 12 Years a Slave - which won Nyong'o an Oscar in February.

The movie follows lovers Ifemelu and Obinze, won the prestigious US National Book Critics Circle Award in 2013.

It was selected as one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, the BBC and Newsday.

It was also on the shortlist for this week's Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction in the UK, but lost out to Eimear McBride's A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing.