Children’s book Sulwe, written and conceived by Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, had already been a New York Times #1 best seller when it was first released in 2019, but now the story is destined for even more prestigious treatment. The Wrap reports that Sulwe is set to become an animated, musical feature film at Netflix, with Nyong’o producing. No director or cast has yet been announced. Netflix had already published a video of Nyong’o reading Sulwe aloud as part of its Bookmarks series for young children, which you can see below.
Sulwe tells the story of a young Black girl by the same name, who feels out of place due to her darker complexion when compared to her peers. The official synopsis is as follows:
“Sulwe” is the story of a girl named Sulwe with skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone she knows, but all she wants is to be beautiful and bright. One night, Sulwe is visited by a shooting star sent by the Night, and embarks on a magical journey where she learns the eye-opening story of the sisters Night and Day. Sulwe is a story about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.
The story is a personal one for Nyong’o, who is of Kenyan and Mexican heritage, as it reflects the anxieties she felt while growing up.
“The story of Sulwe is one that is very close to my heart,” said Nyong’o in a statement. “Growing up, I was uncomfortable in my dark skin. I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in the aspirational pages of books and magazines, or even on TV. It was a long journey for me to arrive at self-love. Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves, a window for those who may not be familiar with colorism, to have understanding and empathy, and an invitation for all who feel different and unseen to recognize their innate beauty and value. I am thrilled that the book is being adapted into an animated musical that we hope inspires children all around the world to celebrate their uniqueness.”