How the Internet Made a Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o Movie a Reality

Elizabeth Durand Streisand
Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s the movie that a meme built, well, kinda. Three years after the Internet went crazy over a pic of Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o sitting side by side at a fashion show, powerhouse director Ava DuVernay has seemingly confirmed a film starring the two beauties will be made. So, how did we get here, exactly?

It all began in 2014, when Riri and Lupita were seated next to each other for a Miu Miu fashion show in Paris.

Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o looking fly in Paris in March 2014. (Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Rihanna wore cat-eye sunglasses, bright red lipstick, and colorful fur for the occasion that made her look like a villain from a James Bond movie, and Oscar-winner Lupita opted for a preppy sweater over a collared shirt and traditional glasses that made her look like the type of woman who knows everything about data systems.

The pic soon went viral on Tumblr, prompting lots of commentary from users and fans.

A Twitter user, @1800SADGAL, reposted the photo, noting, “Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and Lupita is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the [scams].” The tweet got over 209K likes and built enough momentum that even Lupita chimed in.

Lupita  replied to the post last month, saying, “I’m down if you are ,” and RiRi replied, “I’m in Pit’z.”



Cut to the Cannes Film Festival 2017, where reports surfaced that Netflix inked a deal for the film. Although not many details were known just yet, DuVernay will direct and Issa Rae (who wrote, directed, and starred in Insecure) will pen the script. In other words, it’s a whole lot of girl power going on.



On Monday, DuVernay confirmed the deal with a short tweet, declaring, “We deserve nice things.” Amen to that. The statement appeared beside the pic that started it all, just so there wasn’t any confusion about the director’s message.


The plan is to start filming in 2018 and promises have been made to credit the Tumblr and Twitter scribes who (perhaps jokingly) thought the whole thing up.


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