Sulwe: Netflix and Lupita Nyong’o Team Up for New Animated Musical Based on Her Bestselling Children’s Book

Illustration for article titled Sulwe: Netflix and Lupita Nyong’o Team Up for New Animated Musical Based on Her Bestselling Children’s Book
Image: Courtesy of Netflix & Lupita Nyong’o

On Thursday, Netflix announced a brand new project from Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o based on her popular debut children’s book, Sulwe.


Per a press release sent to The Root, the Black Panther star will produce an animated musical special based on the book in collaboration with Netflix, giving more audiences and children a chance to experience their favorite new character in a whole new way. Released in October of 2019, Sulwe became a number one New York Times bestseller and filled a void in helping little dark-skinned girls around the world feel represented. For those unfamiliar, Sulwe tells the story of a little girl with “skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone she knows. 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,” says the release.

This musical makes the second joint effort between Netflix and Nyong’o, the first being her involvement last fall with Bookmarks, a live-action series that featured prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children’s books from Black authors highlighting the Black experience. Speaking on bringing Sulwe to life in a brand new way with Netflix, Nyong’o expressed:

“The story of Sulwe is one that is very close to my heart. 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.

Adding, “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.”

As of now, there’s no word on a potential premiere date for Sulwe, but Nyong’o’s Bookmarks episode is available to stream now on Netflix and on the Netflix Jr. Youtube channel.


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I love it when you see someone’s baby pictures and they had the exact same face as a kid that they do now.