Kenyans and Nigerians have exchanged bitter words on social media over why Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has been picked to play a Nigerian character in the 10-episode screen adaption of the novel Americanah.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s prize-winning bestseller was published in 2013 and tells the story of a Nigerian woman who goes to the US to attend university and her subsequent return to Lagos.
In reaction to WarnerMedia’s announcement on Twitter on Friday, Nigerians began arguing over the weekend that the role should have not have gone to the Oscar award-winning Nyong’o but would be better suited to a Nigerian who could do the accent.
“Lupita playing that role will suffer one thing and one thing alone… the Igbo accent,” one tweeter said.
When you can – You would go for the best..!!
Lupita playing that role will suffer one thing and one thing alone..
The “Igbo” accent..
But if we can put that aside..we would all agree that she will interpret the character perfectly..
So the question is..
Na accent be problem..?
— Duke Edoho (@droayung) September 14, 2019
Another said: “We have fine actresses from Nigeria who can play these roles better.”
They need to stop doing this. We have fine actresses from Nigeria who can play these roles better. Lupita is good but try other people who are Nigerians. What, she’s going to be told or taught how to speak Half-baked Igbo instead of A real Nigerian? https://t.co/lo0eoPSjwL
— FUTURE BILLIONAIRE (@MeetHajaar) September 14, 2019
But Kenyans on Twitter lept to Nyong’o’s defence, saying she was not “creating unemployment in Nigeria” by being a good actor.
So Nigerians think Lupita Nyong'o has come to create unemployment in Nigeria by acting in 'Americanah' with an igbo accent. If you want to take Lupita's Position in the film then outsmart her in acting. Otherwise, go to the Village witch and charm yourselves into the movie. ?
— BRAVIN™ (@ItsBravin) September 15, 2019
Others reminded Nigerians that Beyoncé’s recent album to accompany Disney’s remake of The Lion King failed to feature any East African artists despite the film being inspired by the landscape of Kenya’s Rift Valley.
When Beyonce decided to release an album with an East African theme and unfairly failed to feature E.A artists but Nigerians, the Kenyans swallowed the bitter pills and moved on with life. It's time the Igbos did the same over HBO's decision to pick OUR LUPITA over their girls. pic.twitter.com/0SXqdChV6G
— Collins Sakwah Ongoma (@author_sakwah) September 15, 2019