Lupita Nyong'o's upcoming children's book, Sulwe, may just be a heartwarming story to some, but to others — including the actress herself — it carries deeper significance. A 48-page picture book set to release on Oct. 15, Sulwe discusses colorism and tells the story of how a young black girl with dark skin learns to embrace her beauty. During an appearance on The Tonight Show on Monday, the Us actress briefly explained how the book parallels moments from her childhood and why she considers it a "liberal autobiography."
"I would pray to God every night for lighter skin, because my mom told me God performs miracles," she told host Jimmy Fallon. "So I thought, 'Oh! Well, here's one for me: give me some light skin.' Like, I had a younger sister who's much lighter, and so, every morning, I would wake up and run to the mirror and see whether he answered my prayer. And I would always be so disappointed, and so that's one of the things that Sulwe does in this book."
Lupita opened up about Sulwe's importance in a lengthy Instagram post last week, and she explained to Jimmy that the book also serves to educate people who may not know much about colorism and its effects. "It's a mirror for dark-skinned girls to see themselves, specifically because I didn't have that growing up . . . I hope that this book is a window into understanding what people that may not look like you can go through, but ultimately, the message is that the most important thing is to love yourself before anything else." Watch the video above to hear all of Lupita's comments.