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Lupita Nyong’o’s win in Hollywood that saw her bag the ‘New Hollywood Award’ at the 17th Hollywood Film Awards for her sterling performance in the movie 12 Years A Slave, was received with great pride and admiration by fellow Kenyans, just as the tradition is for any compatriot who represents and makes the country proud on any international platform.

Prior to winning the award, Lupita had received some rave reviews for her outstanding role in the movie and an award had been automatically predicted for her across Hollywood (and in Kenya!). It was indeed a ground-breaking event when Miss Nyong’o eventually scooped the prize, an achievement that is absolutely inspiring to fellow Kenyan actors who share a great dream to make it in Hollywood.


Ironically however, even before Miss Nyong’o was through with celebrating her win, one Dr Fred Shamalla Masinde from Brooklyn, New York was at Lupita’s throat, trying to burst her bubble.

“Unfortunately for Lupita, her looks doesn’t help. Hollywood likes Halle Berry looks”, said Masinde. “At least for women, being charcoal dark doesn’t help.  For men, dark is good. Eddie Murphy opened the doors for the darkest of black men to become super stars. Darkness is sexiness if you are a dude; if you are a lady, Halle Berry is the standard”, he said.


Below are Dr Masinde’s sentiments in whole as posted online.

‘Lupita does not have ‘IT’. At her age if she had IT she would be a Hollywood star by now. There are not many roles suiting her “here I come straight-out-of-the-jungle” ethnic looks-I guess that’s why she is in a slavery movie. I wonder how many slavery movies are created by Hollywood per year. Lupita can continue hanging out with wazungu thinking they love her but the truth is that in big screen, she cannot play any other role but slave related.

So I understand that Miss Malaika Lupita thinks she is the best thing on earth but the truth is the opposite. Hollywood is a different beast. She is not even the main character in that movie. Hollywood is the most cutthroat club in the world. It is extremely difficult to cut it in Hollywood if you started your career playing slave roles.

If we must have a Nyong’o in Hollywood, Issis has IT. Some of us lived in our cars chasing our dreams before breaking

Issis has 'IT'?

Issis has ‘IT’?

into this American society. Lupita goes to Hollywood she is gonna start from the bottom. She ain’t a star; you’ve got to be a realist. Tough love. Let’s not celebrate Lupita prematurely. She is like an intern that just landed a gig with Google. You can’t go around saying that the intern is a successful technology visionary. That’s all I am saying. It is not the best thing to be great in slave movies because the “greater you are” the more likely you will only be typecast in those types of movies…Even Djimon Hounsou gets to play mostly African-related roles… not many movies are about slaves, blood diamonds, Amin, etc. It is not easy for dark Africans to succeed in Hollywood.

There are at least 100 Nigerian “Nollywood Stars” who have better acting skills than Lupita and yet they haven’t been accepted by Hollywood. They are doing much better than Lupita and yet not many people know of them, eg Gugu Mbatha-Raw (South African), Genevieve Nnaji (Nigerian), Freema Agyeman (Ghanaian. Let’s not forget Professor Odera Oruka’s son, Owiso Odera, who has been in Hollywood for more than 10 years. I understand that Miss Malaika Lupita thinks she is the best thing on earth but the truth is the opposite. Trust me there are more talented Africans out there who haven’t made it in Hollywood.’

Dr. Fred Shamalla Masinde, MB; ChB, DDS, Philosophiae Doctor.Brooklyn, NY


Film critics are and will always be there but Masinde’s sentiments were not really appreciated by Kenyans who felt he was simply hating more than making constructive criticism.

This is what Kenyan actors had to say in reaction to Masinde’s sentiments on

“I have always said that it’s a thin line between “hating” and “criticizing” and I am not sure where to place what Dr. Fred Shamalla Masinde said,” wrote actor and casting Director Gerald Langiri.

“Point is, she did the film, got the award and is “hanging out with mzungus” he only watched on tv. Tough love my brown touchie,” posted actress Nia Githinji.


“You just said starting from the bottom and work your way upwards. Well if this role is a bottom for her….so be it…she’s done it and achieved recognition at that bottom level. It might be difficult to make it in this cutthroat Hollywood world but cut her some slack! At least she’s doing something ….this critic sounds like a typical and bitter failure who tried, failed and is reinforcing their own belief by sighting some examples and trends which they see as permanent! Trends are just that…trends…which come and go… Let the girl be! She just could be the one changing trends of Hollywood beauty standards which is perhaps fickle,” said comedian Hotter Than Lava..

What’s your view, Kenya Forum readers? Lupita a flash in the pan? 15 minutes of fame? Or is Masinde a malicious, jealous malcontent?


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