Watch: How A Close Friend Surprised Lupita Nyong’o On Her 32nd Birthday

On Thursday, the star got a major surprise at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards luncheon. She’d flown in the night before to present her Black Panther co-star, Danai Gurira, with an award.

But Gurira had her own surprise in store for Nyong’o’s 35th birthday. “I don’t know where to start,” Gurira said at the podium. “But I know where to begin.”

With that, Gurira burst out into the ‘Happy Birthday’ song in the clip below. The entire audience joined in as a tray of cupcakes made their way to the podium.


“I had to do that, I’m sorry,” Gurira said. Nyong’o “just got off a plane late last night, made it here at midnight on her own birthday. That’s sisterhood right there.”

The two friends previously starred in Gurira’s critically acclaimed Broadway play, The Eclipsed, about enduring war as captive wives in Liberia. The play, written by Gurira, was nominated for six Tony Awards.


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