Lupita Nyong’o talks about becoming a meme after Will Smith beats Oscars and quits her role in ‘The Woman King’

Lupita Nyong’o learns that she can’t always control how people view her in Hollywood.

Earlier this year, the Oscar winner received the meme treatment for her reaction to Will Smith after the Oscar winner took to the stage and punched Chris Rock while presenting the Best Documentary category. Rock had just finished a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

As “King Richard” returned to his seat, a shocked, gaping Lupita appeared sitting behind him. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actress said she “knew as soon as it was over” that she was going to go viral.

“Once the moment passed, I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s no way that happened, and I’m not in the picture,'” the star said. “I knew once it was over that I was going to be a meme.” As for her further thoughts on the shocking March incident, Lupita shared, “I honestly don’t want to add any more fuel to this thing.”

While she may not have been able to turn her image’s history into a meme to express shock via text messages and social media replies, Nyong’o distanced herself from another major event that she didn’t see fit.

The 39-year-old star reprises her role as WarDog Nakia in Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever. She recently opened up about why she turned down a role in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King, starring Viola Davis, which has been a critical and box-office success since its September release. Nyong’o was to star as a warrior of the Agojie tribe, whose legacy inspired Dora Milaje’s fictional female army in “BP.”

Shortly after her casting, however, Nyong’o directed a short documentary about the Agoji, Warrior Women With Lupita Nyong’o, in which The Hollywood Reporter describes her as “uncomfortably wrestling with the tribe’s legacy of violence.” Shortly after making this film, Nyong’o left the Woman King project. Without further explanation, the actress said, “It was very amicable, the departure from that, but I felt like it wasn’t the role for me that I was meant to play.”

Fans can catch the Oscar winner in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever theaters starting November 11. Lupita Nyong’o talks about becoming a meme after Will Smith beats Oscars and quits her role in ‘The Woman King’

James Brien

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