Kenyans and Nigerians have exchanged bitter words on social media over why Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has been picked to play a Nigerian character in the 10-episode screen adaption of the novel Americanah.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s prize-winning bestseller was published in 2013 and tells the story of a Nigerian woman who goes to the US to attend university and her subsequent return to Lagos.
In reaction to WarnerMedia’s announcement on Twitter on Friday, Nigerians began arguing over the weekend that the role should have not have gone to the Oscar award-winning Nyong’o but would be better suited to a Nigerian who could do the accent.
“Lupita playing that role will suffer one thing and one thing alone… the Igbo accent,” one tweeter said.
Another said: “We have fine actresses from Nigeria who can play these roles better.”
But Kenyans on Twitter lept to Nyong’o’s defence, saying she was not “creating unemployment in Nigeria” by being a good actor.
Others reminded Nigerians that Beyoncé’s recent album to accompany Disney’s remake of The Lion King failed to feature any East African artists despite the film being inspired by the landscape of Kenya’s Rift Valley.