British Airways In-Flight Magazine Apparently Thinks Lupita Nyong’o Is Actually From Wakanda

Photo illustration by Michael Harriot/The Root; photo via Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images, text, High Life screenshot via @MrFilmkritik via Twitter

Here’s a tip for future journalists and writers: When you begin an article, you are supposed to open with a “lede”an introductory paragraph that draws the reader into the story. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to sit this right here and go sip some English tea while you peruse this fuckery for a few seconds:

High Life screenshot

This is a photo from British Airways’ High Life magazine. Offered in every seat back on the airline, the magazine bills itself as “Britain’s original travel magazine ... redefined for a post-TripAdvisor, post-Instagram generation.” It doesn’t just offer the usual travelogues; instead, its features immerse readers in the culture, politics and social life of a place. To feed people’s curiosity about the world—and change their views on destinations.

Indeed it does, because I find myself curious as hell about why these people think Mexico-born and Kenya-raised actress Lupita Nyong’o is from Wakanda.

I get that she stars in the upcoming film Black Panther, which is set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda and is based on the popular comic book series. I understand that the Academy Award winner is one of the best actresses working today. I may or may not have been entranced by Nyong’o’s beauty and talent since I saw her in 12 Years a Slave. But Wakanda, fam?


You know Black Twitter is having a field day with this:


To be clear, this has nothing to do with blatant racism, stupidity or even carelessness. Maybe she is that good. Perhaps her acting is so believable that she actually convinced some writer who obviously doesn’t have access to Wikipedia that she hails from a place that doesn’t exist.


Or just maybe Nyong’o actually grew up in Wakanda before she went to high school with Eddie Murphy in Zamunda, attended undergrad at Hillman College and moved to Metropolis, where Lois Lane helped her get a job at the Daily Planet, obviously through affirmative action, because Clark Kent was never fired, even though he was always taking off work whenever anything dangerous happened. (You know how those white boys get away with everything. Especially the ones from Krypton.)

Nah. It was probably stupidity.

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About the author

Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.