Best supporting actress Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong'o has admitted that when she was young she wished her black skin would become lighter.
She confessed that she tried to bargain with God to see a change in her skin tone, but it was not until she discovered supermodel Alek Wek that she began to believe in her own beauty.
Essence also honoured Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Ava DuVernay, the first black woman to win best director at the Sundance Film Festival, and the champions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
She is tipped to be the star of this weekend’s Academy Awards and actress Lupita Nyong'o has certainly been practising her killer red carpet looks.
The 12 Years A Slave starlet flashed her toned stomach in an on-trend white crop ensemble at an awards ceremony in Beverly Hills last night.
The actress wore a snow white top, imprinted with a mash up of letters and a skirt that ended mid-calf.
Lupita has been a huge presence on the red carpet this award’s season with her bursts of energetic colour.
The formerly little-known actress has made jaws drop with her gown choices at the world’s most prestigious award ceremonies.
Last night she opted for a clean-cut neutral design, leaving us in great anticipation for her grand Oscars entrance on Sunday.
She completed her fresh look with white pointed-toe pumps, a white clutch and glistening gold nail polish and gold flower earrings.
The jewel encrusted headband embodied the elegance of Lupita’s sense of style.
At the event, she was honoured with the Best Breakout Performance Award for her work in 12 Years A Slave.
The awards ceremony also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
‘‘I love colour and gravitate towards solid block colours,' she recently told The Daily Beast.
‘‘I like clean lines and a classic look, but I also like to have a sense of humour and wear things that put a smile on my face,’’ she said.
The actress is favourite to win in the best supporting actress category at the Academy Awards and fashion lovers will be glued to their screens to see what and who she will be wearing.
Lupita has injected a bolt of colour into her trips down the red carpet this season and has stood out among the fashion glitterati.
She wore an emerald green Dior gown at the BAFTA awards in London and was deemed the best dressed of the night among a sea of boring frocks.
Her Golden Globes appearance saw her wow the style crowd with a bright orange cape-dress from a Ralph Lauren collection.
Aisling Phelan and Press Association