De Beers defends Appointment of Nyong’o as Global Ambassador

  • Says Nyong’o’s values are aligned with the Groups in promoting women and girls and diversity
  • Notes her A-List celebrity status for influencing major markets, especially the African-American women market


De Beers Group has fiercely defended its appointment of Lupita Nyong’o as its first Global Ambassador.

The Academy Award-winning actor stars in the new brand campaign, “De Beers: Where It Begins,” which tells the story of the only global luxury brand that starts at source.


Building Forever
According to the diamond giant, as a core element of the partnership, Nyong’o will support De Beers’ Building Forever commitment that aims to advance women and girls where its diamonds are discovered.

Nyong’o is the diamond company’s first Global Ambassador. However, the actress is facing criticism for accepting the role of Global Ambassador for De Beers Group. Critics say the actress with Kenyan roots should not have accepted the role in a company in the spotlight reportedly for exploiting African countries in the entire value chain of diamonds, from extraction and polishing to manufacturing and marketing.

In her own defence, she is quoted in reports arguing that the new responsibility will help her to reach out and empower women. “Even more importantly, my partnership with De Beers allows me to extend my advocacy for women and girls around the world,” she said.


Exploiting Nyong’o’s A-List status
Addressing the media in Gaborone on Monday, De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said due to her A-List celebrity status, Nyong’o will be able to influence buyers in major markets, particularly the lucrative African-American women market.

“We spend money on people like these for reasons to promote natural diamonds into markets where people will buy them. America is the biggest by far. The African-American market is the biggest opportunity by far. We have to work with influencers who will help accelerate De Beers and the product in that particular market, so we have to pick an A-List celebrity who will on their own influence people,” Cleaver said.

He added that Nyong’o has values that are aligned with De Beers in the work the company does on promoting women and girls and diversity.

To this end, through its Building Forever approach, De Beers will work with Nyong’o in pursuit of the brand’s public goals to engage 10,000 girls in STEM, support 10,000 women entrepreneurs and invest at least $10 million across southern Africa to achieve these goals by 2030. De Beers Group deals has a strong presence in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa.