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National Spasmodic Dypshonia Association

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Academy Award Winning Actress Lupita Nyong'o Shares Statement with the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association to Help Shed Light on a Difficult Voice Disorder

Itasca, IL, March 30, 2019 --( Prior to the release of Jordan Peele’s horror film, "Us," lead actress Lupita Nyong'o shared the inspiration for the sound of the voice of Red; her doppelgänger character was inspired by the voice of Robert Kennedy, Jr. who has spasmodic dysphonia. The NSDA has been working with Ms. Nyong’o’s team and appreciates the thoughtful statement she provided to NSDA explaining her intentions of discussing spasmodic dysphonia in conjunction with the movie.

Statement by Ms. Nyong’o to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association:

To the Community with Spasmodic Dysphonia:

"I would like to take this opportunity to expound more fully on my relationship with spasmodic dysphonia in my work as it appears in Jordan Peele's film, Us. As some of you may be aware, I play two characters, Adelaide, who many have labeled 'good' and Red, who many have labeled 'bad.' My process as an actor leads me to find ways into the most human and real parts of every character I play, steering clear of any judgement of them as being 'good' or 'bad,' 'righteous' or 'evil,' 'pleasant' or 'creepy.' In portraying the specific trauma of my character, Red, I was inspired in part by hearing Robert F Kennedy Jr speak at an event. His voice and the condition that he has, became the catalyst to my creative process and research which included other influences like laryngeal fractures, vocal cord hemorrhages and my own experience with vocal injury. As part of this exploration I spoke with a number of people who suffer from spasmodic dysphonia. I learned how difficult it is to live with the disorder and it struck me. I am aware of the struggles and frustrations, the misunderstandings and misdiagnoses that accompany having the disorder."

"In discussing spasmodic dysphonia publicly as an inspiration, I never intended to demonize or vilify those with the disorder. In fact, after getting to know some people with it, I hoped it would help to shed light on a difficult disorder that is not well known by the public. I am sorry to all those who may have been hurt or offended by my mention of the condition, as my intention was never to present this condition in a sinister light."

"Ultimately, Red's voice is a composite of influences and a creation of my imagination. In fact, the final voice does not sound like spasmodic dysphonia. I crafted her with care and love. I in turn extend my love to you now, in the hope that you are able to receive it and understand my motivations beyond the brief sound bites that the news may otherwise deliver to you."

With Deep Respect,
Lupita Nyong’o

The NSDA applauds all efforts to raise awareness about spasmodic dysphonia. "We thank Ms. Nyong'o for her efforts to bring attention to this rare neurological voice disorder and appreciate her intention was to help our cause. Since learning of the movie’s release, the NSDA’s goal has remained the same, to educate and raise awareness about spasmodic dysphonia and its challenges in a positive way. This has been an opportunity to expose a much larger population to the impact of this voice disorder," shared NSDA Executive Director Kimberly Kuman.

All this awareness has also shed light on what is really needed for people with spasmodic dysphonia ‑ more research for this rare voice disorder ‑ including determining its causes, finding better treatments, and, ultimately, a cure.

About the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association

Founded in 1989, the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by spasmodic dysphonia and related voice conditions through research, education, awareness, and support.
Contact Information
National Spasmodic Dypshonia Association
Kimberly Kuman
Attached Files
Original Statement from the National Spasmodic Dysphonia
Filename: SpasmodicDysphoniaMuchMoreTha.pdf

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