Lupita Nyong’o, Kenyan-Mexican actress, has apologised for attributing the voice of a demon-like character she played in the Jordan Peele directed film ‘Us’ to a larynx disorder.
The 36-year-old actress said she never intended to demonise or mock the disorder.
Lupita was heavily criticised when she told New York Times that Robert Kennedy Jnr, an American environmental attorney, who suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, inspired the character, ‘Red’ — an evil doppelganger character and the villain of the film.
But in an interview with The View, the actress explained that although the character’s voice was inspired by spasmodic dysphonia, it is also a product of research coupled with her imagination.
“I wanna say the voice of Red is a composite of influences, and definitely a creation of my imagination. But I was inspired by a condition called spasmodic dysphonia, which is a neurological disorder which can be triggered by physical or emotional trauma,” Lupita said.
“In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonizing the condition. I crafted Red with love and care. As much as it was in a genre-specific world, I really wanted to ground her in something that felt real. For all that, I say sorry to anyone that I may have offended.”
Following her apology, RespectAbility, a nonprofit group dedicated to the cause of people with disabilities, released a statement on its official website;
“We hope Nyong’o will use this experience to continue lifting up all marginalized groups including the 1-in-5 people who live with disabilities. In general, the Hollywood practice of using disability primarily to villainize people or to show them as objects of pity needs to end,” the statement read.
The Oscar-winning actress played the role of Nakia in Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’.