What You Said: What Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar Win Means to Me

At the 2014 Academy Awards, newcomer Lupita Nyong'o took home Oscar gold for her performance in 12 Years a Slave. We've watched her breakthrough performance, flawless red carpet presence and moving speeches make her Hollywood's darling over the past year and we couldn't be more proud of her. We took to Facebook to ask our readers what Lupita's win meant to them. We got inspiring, hopeful and touching responses about the star's impact. Here are some of our favorite responses.

Dominique Hobdy Mar, 03, 2014

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Stephanie D.: "Her rise and recognition means that we're not a novelty. And our many shades are relevant, versatile, and desirable."

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Michele M.: "Lupita makes being a black girl with dreams in a modern world acceptable and achievable. She represents the validated success that comes as a result of the hard work of Kenyan immigrant parents and I can completely relate to her story and struggle. She has inspired us all with her radiant, transcendent larger than life personality. Lupita is every girl with a dream."

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Melanie Douglas S.: "My 7 year old brown girl said this afternoon, 'Mummy, can she be my big sister?!' So proud that my brown girl can identify with such beauty and talent. Great role model."

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Ayoka Ayanna M.: "Lupita is our soft, graceful and elegant African Queendom embodied in a modern day darling! Her win is another confirmation that Black women are capable and intelligent ambassadors of style and substance. Her performance and subsequent win is an example to women everywhere that you can live your dreams on your own terms!"

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Doris R.D.: "Her award gave was a wink from the ancestors saying 'you are all the manifestation of our dreams. Our dreams were valid, then and now."

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Kanita Rene B.: "Lupita N'yongo sets an incredible standard of elegance, grace, intelligence, poise & humility...so gorgeous, so amazing and such an incredibly stunning representation of confident, uninhibited, unashamed, unapologetic Black beauty...that I am so proud & committed to embody. I'm so grateful for her moment...it's a moment for us all. Every spotlight is on her & she is effortlessly rising to the occasion. She provides a tremendous reminder in this day & time of the phenomenal power of a woman's beautiful spirit...it's one thing to be attractive, but she is a refreshing reminder of investing in and exuding what comes from within. No matter where you're from...your dreams are valid."

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Nkem D.: "Lupita's win to me means hope! Her win encourages me, educates me, inspires me, reboots me, humbles me even more. It reminds me of how deeply rooted I am to where I come from. She embraces everything beautiful. In all the winnings, she maintained being one thing; herself. I am reenergized to keep keeping on. Thank you Lupita. ~ ND"

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Stacy G.: "Lupita means Black elegance personified, artistic mastery, humility, grace and dreams manifested. #yourdreamsarevalid"

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Jessica B.: "Lupita is so graceful and poised!I am so happy for her and for the spirit of all the Patseys who EXISTED so that I could LIVE!"

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Bi-Mia R.: "My three year old daughter was watching and squealed at the TV: "Mom, look! She's pretty like me!" Lupita's win paves the way for today's young women to feel pretty. I am eternally thankful to her for that."

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Tomiko N.: "She takes her responsibility of role model so seriously. You cannot underestimate the power of that. Not only does she provide that validation for dark women living with feelings of inadequacy and self-disdain but she tells those 'powers that be' that the world is ready to embrace this beauty that has always been there. The media tells us what to like and now they can tell the world it's OK by opening up those previously shut doors. They were just looking for a good actress who looked the part. What they got was a beautiful, poised, educated young woman who was ready to to take the mantle of responsibility to encourage others who desperately needed that encouragement."

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Rachel F.S.: "When you are real and natural, when you know how blessed you are, when you trust in yourself, when you honor yourself and your work. You honor us all. She means excitement and real possibility for many."

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Adayah S.M.:  "It means that even though it takes generations, the triumph of our ancestors is still strong and coming."

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Phoebe G.: "Her win is another crack in the ceiling that Black actresses have made. A step further in the popular realization that we already knew. BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL, INTELLIGENT, and STRONG!!"

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Mtee H.: "It means that my beautiful dark skinned daughter who looks in the mirror and thinks she is not beautiful enough, even when I tell her, she is the most beautiful girl, I know, can now look up to Lupita, and say, yes, I look like her and I am beautiful just like Lupita."

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Eugenia A.: "Lupita's talent and grace is sobering and goes to show that the good girl can win. In the 'overtly sexy' route pop culture is taking, she is a trailblazer letting her talent speak for itself, for that I am proud. We are Lupita."

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Marcia W.: "When I look at Lupita, I am moved beyond. Alas my daughter, my nieces, the young women I mentor and all the little girls of African descent can look at her and never feel inadequate, believe that they were born for such a time as this. Dream the impossible, plan and execute it. Above all never give up!"

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Ebony J.: "Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar win for the critically acclaimed film, 12 Years a Slave, allows young, beautiful, Black girls to truly feel the validation their external beauty but also learn the fundamental importance of being beautiful on the inside."