Lupita Nyong’o was recently the hot topic on Nigerian Twitter when it emerged that she got a coveted part in the TV adaptation of Americanah. The 10-episode limited series ordered by HBO Max will star Lupita Nyong’o, with the series pilot written by actress Danai Gurira.
The best-selling novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, two young lovers who escape military-rule Nigeria for a better life in the West. They are separated by forces beyond their control but are finally able to reunite and rekindle their love.
HBO Max orders limited series 'Americanah' based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name. The 10-episode series will star @Lupita_Nyongo with the pilot written by showrunner @DanaiGurira: https://t.co/ncZXyTMvzT pic.twitter.com/deDrJtUzE4
— WarnerMedia (@WarnerMediaGrp) September 13, 2019
Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o is set to play the character of Ifemelu, an Igbo girl. This has been a passion project for her for years, having earlier bought the rights to adapt the book into a film. However, after considerations it was decided that the book would work better as a series instead. When asked about this great accomplishment, this is what Lupita Nyong’o had to say:
‘It’s a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless. HBO Max is the perfect partner to bring this profound and celebrated story to life, and I’m thrilled that Danai will bring to the project her intelligence, wit, and understanding of the stories and the worlds of ‘Americanah.’
This announcement has elicited a lot of talk from Nigerians on Twitter. Many of the reactions were rants about how Lupita was not suited to play an Igbo character. In addition, Nigerians were quick to point out the many accomplished Nigerian actresses that could have been given the role instead.
— Nena (@iamNeinah) September 14, 2019
Let's settle this matter once and for all
Who do you think should play americanah for HBO?
Like for Genevieve nnanji
Retweet for lupita nyong'o pic.twitter.com/UvAH3pgo0f
— Akinbobola🇳🇬 (@ak_bob47) September 14, 2019
I love lupita nyong'o very much but if anyone is going to play the role of ifemelu in chimamanda's book #Americanah she is definitely wrong for that role.
Hollywood has uzo aduba & Yvonne orji why not them?
— Uzo🌼 (@uzo_adaigbo) September 15, 2019
Other Twitter users, especially KOT were not left behind either! They quickly jumped in to defend their own Lupita Nyong’o against what they termed to be baseless attacks. They were quick to point out the many other times, like the recent Lion King soundtrack, that Kenyans were not included even when they should have been. Furthermore, they made it clear that Americanah was a work of fiction and any good actress could easily act the part.
Nigerians after finding out No Kenyan artiste featured in Lion King sound track
Nigerians learning that Lupita has been given a 'Nigerian role' in Americanahpic.twitter.com/HBhDy1PHqJ
— von (@schwarzerkaizer) September 15, 2019
— Akorede. (@Stormy_Sayings) September 14, 2019
David Oyelowo, a Nigerian was cast as a Ugandan and a Motswana and these were historical characters. And they are here losing their heads over fictional characters.
— SINDE Skatespearé (@sindednis) September 14, 2019
Good job! Lupita & Danai👏
We can't wait to see how well you'd bring to life the young & vibrant character Ifemelu.
As a community of all Igbo people, if you ever need extra help immersing into this character of a vibrant Igbo lady, we'd be glad to work with you. #Americanah
— Ogbako Umu Igbo (@OgbakoUmuIgbo) September 14, 2019
As to whether Lupita Nyong’o can act as an Igbo girl convincingly remains to be seen.
Featured Image Courtesy: Essence