Jordan Peele’s Cultural Diverse Castings: Lupita Nyong’o — Part 2 Of 3

Lupita Nyong'o


Jordan Peele continues to cast people of Cross-Cultural identities within his move “Us,” among them Lupita Nyong’o.

Video of the Us Movie Trailer

Lupita Nyong’o is one of the main characters in “Us.” She is a Kenyan-Mexican actress and author. Nyong’o was born in Mexico City and further raised in Kenya after the age of 1. In 2008, Nyong’o began her acting career and started landing roles in Kenya and the United States from there.

Nyong’o is the main character in Jordan Peele’s film “Us,” about a family of four traveling to an old beach house that Adelaide, who Nyong’o plays, grew up in while experiencing a series of events. Along with also playing Adelaide, Nyong’o also plays her doppelganger Red. The movie, according to Box Office Mojo, ended up making US$255 million with only a $70 million budget.

In an interview with Nyong’o by Antonia Blythe in Deadline, she touches on the race aspect within the movie:

In ‘Us,’ it’s class and privilege, and the fact that we have a Black family taking us through the story is a matter of circumstance. It’s not the exceptional thing. And that in itself I find radical and refreshing. People of color don’t always see the world through the color of their skin.

Her cultural assimilation

Lupita Nyong'o
Photo of Nyong’o in an interview

As a person of color herself, Nyong’o had a lot of different setbacks. These came from where she was from and what she looked like. Nyong’o struggled a lot moving to the U.S.A. when it came to getting her hair done.

In an interview with “Hello!,” she said, “Moving to the U.S. was very difficult because I didn’t have the same kind of support system. [Braiding] services were not readily available in Amherst, Massachusetts.”

This is just one of the cultural differences that she encountered. Many people of multiple identities struggle to assimilate when moving because of how much of a culture shock that is. Similar to Nyong’o’s story, Leila Zulic experienced similar instances. This is because of where her father is from and how she was raised.

Nyong’o and her effect on others

Leila Zulic is a 3rd year student at Colorado State University studying Neuroscience. She grew up with her father who is from Bosnia and has shared different cultural experiences through that. 

“I saw a lot of differences between the United States and Bosnia because of the summers that I spent there.” Zulic said. “It seemed like everyone was 20 years behind in Bosnia; consumerism is something that is very different. In Bosnia, people do not consume as much as they do in America. People in America continue to get different cars and spend money on shopping and that is something that is not normal in Bosnia.” 

Nyong’o’s story could potentially help others like her who have experienced this, according to Zulic:

I didn’t know that Lupita was an immigrant before you told me; I think that she should use her platform to actually put these things out there because it’s useful and cool to know that there are famous people who go through the same cultural shock as us. 

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  1. This is a great article. I am really enjoying the flow you have from stanza to stanza. That last quote does a perfect job of explaining the purpose of this article without saying it. The imagery and social media posts you used held shaped the structure of the story really well! Overall great content and article!

  2. I loved this article, and how you chose to focus on a woman of color that is very relevant in pop culture today. I loved your final quote, and I felt that it wrapped up your piece perfectly. Great job!

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