An Le, the photographer responsible for cropping out Lupita Nyong’o’s natural hair on the cover of Grazia, has apologised to Nyong’o and “everyone else that I did offend.”
In a statement released to HuffPost UK, Le began by admitting his part in the controversy.
“I’ve had some time to reflect on my part in the incident involving Grazia and Ms. Nyong’o,” he stated.
“I realise now what an incredibly monumental mistake I have made and I would like to take this time to apologise to Ms Nyong’o and everyone else that I did offend.
“Though it was not my intention to hurt anyone, I can see now that altering the image of her hair was an unbelievably damaging and hurtful act.”
Nyong’o had spoken out against erasing the uniqueness of women of colour and was not exactly pleased with Le’s take on her - or Grazia for allowing it to go to print.
In an Instagram statement, she wrote: “Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfils me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.
“I am disappointed that Grazia UK invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like.”
The post garnered over 260,000 ‘likes’ in three days, indicating that Nyong’o’s honesty was needed and welcome.
The Vietnamese-born photographer seems to hold himself accountable.
“As an immigrant myself, it is my duty to be an advocate for the representation of diversity of beauty in this industry,” said Le.
“I will demonstrate this in my work even more going forward.”
The statement continued:
My altering of her image was not born out of any hate but instead out of my own ignorance and insensitivity to the constant slighting of women of colour throughout the different media platforms. There is no excuse for my actions. I deeply regret the pain I’ve caused Ms. Nyong’o, a woman I’ve admired for quite some time now. An Le
To many, this one action speaks volumes about the restrictive standard there still exists regarding beauty in 2017.
Le concluded his apology with a line that addresses the gravity of the situation.
“Again, I would like to say I’m deeply sorry to everyone I did offend,” he said.
“I want to thank Lupita for addressing this important issue.”
The editorial team at Grazia has also issued an apology.
“Grazia is committed to representing diversity throughout its pages and apologises unreservedly to Lupita Nyong’o,′ the statement read.
“Grazia magazine would like to make it clear that at no point did they make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita Nyong’o’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves.
“But we apologise unreservedly for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that we were aware of all alterations that had been made.”