Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar hairstyle was inspired by Rwandan tradition.
The 35-year-old actress wowed on the Academy Awards red carpet on Sunday (04.03.18) thanks to an elaborately sculpted up-do adorned with gold thread, which was designed to create a look of “empowerment” and showcase the “strength of African heritage”
The ‘Black Panther’ actress’ stylist, Vernon François, told Refinery29: “As we have traveled around the world for the Black Panther opening, creating looks of empowerment that showcase the strength of African heritage has been our priority, for Lupita’s Academy Awards look, we knew that we wanted a structured hairstyle with a strong identity, and [we were] drawn to Amasunzu hairstyles.”
The Amasunzu hairstyles are traditionally worn by Rwandan men and unmarried women to indicate their status in society.
The crest-like creations are worn by unmarried women indicating that they are of an age where they can be married.
Vernon told ESSENCE he wanted to create a “clean” look that would not only be a nod to the Rwandan culture, but also to show off the Kenyan-Mexican actress’s stunning Versace dress. He explained: “Lupita’s look was inspired by images of Amasunzu hairstyles, which are traditional to Rwandan culture, we wanted something clean and sculpted to accent her dress and show off the neckline.”
Lupita was presenting the Oscar for Best Production Design at the awards ceremony alongside actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, and used the opportunity to support immigrants in the United States.
She said: “We are the two actors you keep hearing about but whose names you have trouble pronouncing.
“Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies, dreams are the foundation of America.”
Nanjiani then added: “So to all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you.”