Netflix is adapting Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o’s New York Times bestselling book Sulwe into an animated musical feature.
“The story of Sulwe is one that is very close to my heart. Growing up, I was uncomfortable in my dark skin. I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in the aspirational pages of books and magazines, or even on TV,” said Lupita Nyong’o in the announcement. “It was a long journey for me to arrive at self-love. Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves, a window for those who may not be familiar with colorism, to have understanding and empathy, and an invitation for all who feel different and unseen to recognize their innate beauty and value. I am thrilled that the book is being adapted into an animated musical that we hope inspires children all around the world to celebrate their uniqueness.”
The synopsis reads, “Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone she knows. All she wants is to be beautiful and bright. One night, Sulwe is visited by a shooting star sent by the Night, and embarks on a magical journey where she learns the eye-opening story of the sisters Night and Day. Sulwe is a story about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.”
You can find the original book, which is a Teacher’s Pick, right here on Amazon in multiple formats. Vashti Harrison illustrated the children’s book, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Lupita Nyong’o is producing the project, and earlier this year, the actor read Sulwe as part of Bookmarks, a live-action series that features prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children’s books from Black authors that highlight the Black experience. The episode is available for streaming now via the Netflix and Netflix Jr. Youtube channel.
“Sulwe” joins Netflix’s expanding original slate of animated features, which includes Academy Award-nominated “Klaus,” Kris Pearn’s “The Willoughbys,” Oscar winner Glen Keane’s “Over the Moon,” as well as the Fall 2021 comedy “Back to the Outback” directed by Clare Knight and Harry Cripps. Other projects include Richard Linklater’s “Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Adventure,” Chris Williams’ ‘The Sea Beast,” Henry Selick’s “Wendell & Wild,” Nora Twomey’s “My Father’s Dragon,” Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming “Pinocchio,” Wendy Rogers’ “The Magician’s Elephant,” Minkyu Lee’s “The Witch Boy,” an Aardman sequel to “Chicken Run” and a “Redwall” film and event series.