Update: Photographer An Le has publicly apologized for photoshopping Nyongo's hair, People reports.
"At no point did (it) make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita Nyong’o’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves," Grazia UK stated. At that point, the photographer came forward with an acknowledgement of her mistake and an apology.
"I realize now what an incredibly monumental mistake I have made," Le said in a written apology. "I would like to take this time to apologise to Ms. Nyong’o and everyone else that I did offend."
Original story follows.
As a general rule, I'm always happy to see Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of a magazine. But you know what really puts a damper on it? Learning that the aforementioned magazine photoshopped her appearance.
Nyong'o is on the cover of Grazia UK's latest issue and she took to social media to call out the magazine for "smooth[ing] my hair to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like."
In an Instagram post, Nyong'o showed the magazine cover alongside the original photos — and it's pretty clear that her loose ponytail was essentially shaved off by the folks at Grazia UK.
"As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too," Nyong'o captioned the post.
"Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture," she concluded.
Nyong'o added the hashtag #dtmh (don't touch my hair) to drive the point home. In an industry where Black women are already underrepresented, it's problematic to photoshop images of women like Nyong'o who, as she says, want children to know that they're beautiful as they are. Furthermore, it was straight-up disrespectful to make such a change without consulting Nyong'o and allowing her to explain exactly why the photoshopping is a racial issue.
This isn't the first time a magazine has come under fire for photoshopping Nyong'o. As noted by People, a 2014 Vanity Fair cover generated controversy online after people pointed out that it appeared her skin had been lightened.