The Black Panther star credits her mother for “nurturing her artistic spirit,” as she admits she wouldn’t have made it as an actress without her support as there weren’t facilities in her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya, like there are in America.
Speaking at the school’s annual Mask Ball, she said: “I was thinking about the Harlem School of Arts and what it does for children and its students, and I didn’t have an institution where I’m in from in Nairobi, Kenya. And so the only way my interest in the arts thrived was because I had parents who valued those interests. And my mother, in particular, she really nurtured my artistic spirit. She drove to rehearsals after a long day at work and waited in the car for five or so hours … and she never complained.”
While her mother Dorothy Nyong’o added as they jointly collected the Visionary Lineage Award: “I really didn’t do much. I looked for opportunities to nurture that. My job was really to facilitate it and I’d like to encourage parents to do it.
“Sometimes we make the mistake of trying to make our children what we think we want. I’m proud of her. She makes me shine.”
Meanwhile, the 12 Years A Slave star previously insisted that everybody must play a part to encourage more women into the film industry.
She said: “When you have people like Regina King stand up and say, ‘Hey, my next project is going to be 50 percent women,’ it wakes people up to realize that everyone has a role to play in creating or influencing the inclusive world we all so badly want to see. It forces you to think, ‘Okay, what can I do in my little sphere of influence?’ It’s the consciousness of every individual to make that change.”