Has Lupita Nyong’o been dating Somali-Canadian rapper K’Naan this whole time?


All awards season, Lupita Nyong’o has played her personal life very close to the vest. There have been hints along the way, about “close friends” and “school friends” and I was actually under the impression that she spends a lot of her time with a male friend from Yale who may or may not be her gay BFF. That’s just what Lupita has said in her own words – she’s never confirmed a boyfriend (or girlfriend) either way. There are also tons of tabloid reports, people trying to hook her up with everyone from Chiwetel Ejiofor to Michael Fassbender to Leonardo DiCaprio to Jared Leto and on and on. But what if she’s been dating a Somali-Canadian rapper named K’Naan this whole time? A photographer snapped a photo of Lupita and K’Naan embracing a few days ago – go here to see. Now everyone is like, “OMG, they’re dating.”

Lupita Nyong’o was the belle of the ball on Oscar night. But the man who was by her side the morning after — clutching her statuette and comforting her as she prepared to make the rounds of press — isn’t exactly Prince Charming. RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that the new man by Nyong’o’s side, Somali rapper K’Naan, is a former gang member with a history of past arrests!

K’Naan, born Keinan Warsame, was born in Somalia but fled with his family to Canada in the 90s after seeing his young friends killed in the beginning of that country’s civil war. But life in North America would only prove to be more dangerous. In a tough Toronto neighborhood, K’Naan fell in with a Somali gang.

“We Somalis weren’t treated well because we didn’t know how to dress cool,” he’s explained. “We didn’t have Nike trainers; instead, we had stuff from Walmart and kids would be laughing. There was always conflict there …”

Ultimately, he would be arrested more than a dozen times during his teen years, according to multiple reports, including at least once for violence involving a firearm.

“I learned to fire guns at the age of nine or so,” he’s revealed, “but luckily [I] was not out killing people. We zigzagged the streets to escape those trying to kill us.”

Now a successful rapper — and a devout Muslim who does not drink or smoke — he’s come a long way from the streets of Mogadishu and the ghettoes of Toronto. But he still has sympathy for those back home. K’Naan has drawn criticism in recent years for his stance on Somali pirates like those featured in Captain Phillips: He says they’re “serving a purpose.”

Citing illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of Somalia, he’s said, “Our pirates were the only deterrent we had from an externally imposed environmental disaster. One man’s pirate is another man’s coast guard.”

[From Radar]

I don’t know, he doesn’t seem that thuggy to me? Like, Radar is trying to make it sound like he’s all hard like Lil’ Maple Leaf (SO GANGSTA, YO) when really K’Naan just sounds like he grew up in an impoverished area of Toronto and he’s matured a lot since then. Is this Lupita’s type? I have no idea. There’s a lot we don’t know about her and what kind of guy she goes for. My interpretation of that hug is that they’ve met each other a handful of times and they’re friendly, and they came in for a nice hug. But maybe I’m saying that because I’m still trying to make Lupita and Benedict Cumberbatch happen (please, please let that happen).



Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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54 Responses to “Has Lupita Nyong’o been dating Somali-Canadian rapper K’Naan this whole time?”

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  1. Frida_K says:

    Burgundy is a fabulous color on her. Wow, so pretty in that first photo!

    As to boyfriends: well, if she likes the Toronto guy, it’s her business, but yes, it would be certainly charming if she got with Cumby. Imagine how darling the children would be?

  2. Dani2 says:

    LOL Somali twitter’s reaction to this has been hilarious – they think she can do better than being stepmum to his two kids. I didn’t know this guy existed before this week so I don’t really know. I definitely don’t want Cumberbatch, Fassy or Leto for her – she can do better than them unless all she wants is some fun.

  3. QQ says:

    They look adorable together, why not! but really WE (the public at large) need to stop shipping this girl with any rando that acts, she has plenty on her plate appearing perfect at all times and fielding dudes should NOT be something we lob on her

  4. Anon says:

    K’Naan is not a thug at all! I am a huge fan of his music, I’ve seen him several times in concert and he talks about peace and the horrors of violence. I love this match!

    • V4Real says:

      He’s a reformed gang member.

    • Mich says:

      I also love him!

      He did one of the official songs of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and it never fails to make me happy (Wave Your Flag).


    • harpreet says:

      He grew up in a bad part of Toronto (allegedly Rob Ford has a lot connections there). I’ve seen apartments in that area (2-3 bedroom) go for $90,000 last year.

      I think Radar is overdramatizing his past.

      • V4Real says:

        “I think Radar is overdramatizing his past.”

        Of course they are, that’s what they do. They embellish the truth to make their stories more interesting.

      • Radar is WAAAAY over dramatizing it. K’Naan grew up in Regent Park it’s not quite the same as the Windsor Rd crews that Ford is mixed up in but similar. He’s more east side of the city while the Dixon Bloods are from the West end. I lived in one of the other bad hoods in the east side of down town [but not in Malvern] and generally cliques would stick to their sides of the city or shoot it out on Yonge St killing innocent shoppers. It’s well known that K’Naan put all that gang crap behind him and is a huge voice for trying to give more options and hope to under served/low income areas not just in the city but the whole country. I’ve met the man myself and he’s the real deal, no fakery, no BS. Just a very intelligent, thoughtful person. In fact most Canadian ‘rappers’ you’ll find are more toward the KRS-One style of hip hop poet style of things than the 50 Cent ‘bitches and hoes’ style. If Lupita isn’t going to give my homeboy Shad a chance then K’Naan’s a good alternative.

      • mouse says:

        While it’s true the area he grew up in has an affluent section there is very much an impoverished section in the same area and they are known for their ‘thugs’. And no K’Naan did not grow up in the affluent area.

    • littlestar says:

      He’s always seemed like a nice guy to me too, from what I’ve seen of him in interviews.

      Side note, I always wondered why he isn’t more famous. His music is not that bad.

      Edit: There are a bunch of Canadian artists who should be more famous than they are, actually!

  5. Musi says:

    Actually he’s divorced with two kids who are not always with him. He’s dating a red head in ny. I’m not in on this.

  6. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    Are the paps interested in her. I think that those photos in Paris were the first time I’ve ever seen her photographed outside of an event.

    Also–who knows? She’s not telling, and last I heard, most people don’t only hug/pose with their SOs…you are allowed to have opposite sex friends.

  7. Kate says:

    I don’t know anything about this guy but if she is dating him and kept it quiet then good on her. She’s got real talent and beauty and she doesn’t need to sell her private life to the tabloids for me to care about her. She’s too good for that.

  8. cheesecake says:

    Lupita’s my dream woman right now!! Oh God, I just hope she never gets a boyfriend, cause then my fantasy hook up game comes to a dead end… *tears falling in my coffee*… no more talking to my friends on some: “Oh my G, word is, it’s Jake Gyllz!!” or “Word is she left Chewey for Brad and Angie, but she had to cut that loose, now Brad just cant get enough of her. He keeps cock blocking every chance he gets!” or “Poor girl cant decide between Michael B Jordan or Leonardo D!!”
    *sigh* Another tear drops on my toast!!

  9. paola says:

    Damn Fassy! go get your girl back!
    Is it only me who wants them together so badly? They would be so hot together.

    I really love that first pic of Lupita: those sunglasses are super cute and that shade of lipstick is just perfection for her. That skin has to be the most perfect I’ve ever seen on a human being.

  10. Lucy2 says:

    That first photo is awesome, she looks like a legendary movie star there.
    I hope the paparazzi don’t hound her, and she can have some privacy.

  11. Luca26 says:

    Lupita is too good for the likes of Fassy,Leto, and Cumby they all go through women like Kleenex. I hope if this is really her boyfriend that he’s a nice guy.

  12. Liv says:

    I’m just glad it’s not Jared Leto.

  13. NewWester says:

    “Ghettoes of Toronto”? I live here and there are some areas that may have many immigrants and also lower income people living. But I would hardly call them a ghetto. Frankly most of the people in those areas I would much rather have dinner with than our current mayor Rob Ford

    • Sageb1 says:

      the only ghettoes i know of are in paris where the riots happened, and the turkish ones in german cities.

      though the biggest ghettoes are the palestinian refugee camps in lebanon and syria.

      i’m not sure if libya is ghetto. it depends on whether you are berber or arab.

    • Leigh_S says:

      ‘Ghettos’ of toronto’? I own a condo in that neighborhood, seriously. (A block from the Rob Ford crackhouse, I had no idea when I used to walk my dog past there all the time) A lot of that area is broke but that is a hilarious overstatement. I moved for family reasons but would still live there in a heartbeat.

    • Anna says:

      Knaan techically did live in a ghetto here in Toronto.. Rexdale is (and was) one of the more “dangerous” parts since there is a lot of gang activity, I don’t understand why people are trying to say otherwise..

  14. TorontoE says:

    Love this. And K’Naan is not a thug. He got his start in rapping after presenting his poetry/spoken word piece to the UN commissioner for refugees for gods sake! And waving flag raised so much money for Haiti. He’s also out and about in Torontonand seems humble and gracious (sitting patiently while Jake G hits on the waitress). I think he is a great match for Lupita. Both are articulat,aware , intelligent.

  15. Addison says:

    I remember when 12 Years was filming there was an article online that talked about Lupita and her character. In the interview something she said led me to believe she was in a steady relationship.

    Sure that was almost two years ago and things change. But recent reports that she and Michael were involved during filming are ridiculous.

    • LadyS says:

      I don’t understand the Fassbender rumors either. I thought he was dating Nicole Beharie at the time he was filming 12YAS and then he was seen with several other girls. Also, isn’t he screwing around with that Romanian escort? WTH?!?!?

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        He and Nicole Beharie have been over for over a year, it might even be coming up on two years…it was before she got that tv show–it’s in the archives–she said on twitter, verbatim, ‘Fassbender and I are no longer dating’…I remember because it seemed really cold and clinical–to refer to someone you dated for a year, someone who flew out to see you on sets half way across the country (she was filming in the middle of Minnesota or somewhere like that, and he flew in from London to visit her)–which led to the discuss that it might’ve been a bad breakup.

        He’s screwing around with the Romanian chick–which I’m seriously not understanding why people are freaking out. Until he says she’s his girlfriend (which he’s never been shy about who he dates; he doesn’t bring it up constantly, but he doesn’t hide it in interviews), or they start attending rc’s together, then the only thing I’m convinced of is that he thought Milan was such a beautiful city to see, but also to have sex in.

        I mean–I don’t judge people on how many sexual partners they’ve had, or the relationships that they have with them–as long as it’s safe, consensual, and everyone is of age, I’m fine with it. But it is weird/funny to see people freaking out the minute that they see him with a less than savory woman (in the public’s eyes)—the difference between her and him is that he isn’t a fameho and he can act. I highly doubt he’s with her because she’s an amazing, articulate woman–he’s with her because she’s great in the sack. That’s it. They’re probably friendly–they might take in a few sites–but I don’t get the pearl clutching or the horror.

        They’re both people who like to sleep around–Fassy has more integrity than her because he is talented and doesn’t fameho, but come on. If anything, we should give him props for picking the least famehoish f-ck buddy he could find….I just googled pics of them–only found 3-4 of the same pictures of them in Milan, taken about a month ago…..so at least she’s not calling the paps.

        But it is annoying to me–like with Benedict Cumberbatch. He was mutual friends/friendly with some Russian chick–maybe he slept with her, maybe he didn’t–who knows? But people were calling him out left and right, saying he called the paps (for tweeting/saying in an interview that he was going to x place to officiate a wedding) to flaunt the russian chick–who he wasn’t kissing or behaving ‘inappropriately’ with, hasn’t been seen with since, has never talked about her to my knowledge–all of a sudden he’s a disgusting lizard perv. Especially after it came out that all this chick was doing was using his name for her own publicity/stupid reality show.

  16. Peppa says:

    Would you let a guy you only met a handful of times hold your Oscar… hmmm?? :)
    Her sunglasses and coat in the first picture are giving me life! We can ship Lupita with whoever we like, but I think Lupita will stay away from Hollywood actors (and I don’t blame her).

  17. taylor says:

    I agree with those saying the media’s attempts to hook her up with someone are weird/bad. She’s an accomplished, intelligent, well-educated woman with a really interesting upbringing. She seems like a great person–why is all of that being reduced to who she dates/can date?
    As an aside, I love K’Naan’s music–my favorite is a (sort-of) duet he did with Mamadou; it’s fantastic!

    • LadyS says:

      Because, unfortunately for us, we live in a society where only sex and cheap drama sell. Nobody celebrates intelligence anymore. I think so far she’s playing the game well and not allowing them to reduce her to any level. Hopefully she stays the same, but given the demands of having “it-girl” status, who knows? I’m really rooting for her. We need a positive black woman in the media!!

  18. Asiyah says:

    I love him! Some people have a rough couple of years. We can’t be so judgmental. And I think they make a nice couple.

  19. helena says:

    Lupita and the Dusty Foot Philosopher – awesome!

    K’Naan is a great poet and musician, and spokesperson for peace and equality. He’s had some rough times in the past, and hasn’t been an angel, but he’s got a pure heart. He’s expressed regret in his songs about how things went down with his ex. Let’s hope he’s learned and grown.

    If she’s got him, she’s a lucky woman. And if he’s got her, he’s a lucky man. This is one celebrity couple I would support wholeheartedly.

    And, yeah, he lived in a rough part of town (in the Somali part of the rough part, not the white part.) Good for him for rejecting the gang lifestyle and pursuing his art.

  20. serena says:

    So what? Let her be with whoever she wants.

  21. Naddie says:

    All bullsh-t, she’s dating me.

  22. DJohnson says:

    K’Naan seems like a nice enough person but I do not think he is a good match for her. If Chiwetel becomes available, he and Lupita will hopefully get together. They would make an awesome couple. There is chemistry between the two of them, both are well spoken, well educated, a good command of history, thinkers, and seemingly loving and giving people. I could listen to either one of them for hours at a time because both have such interesting thoughts to share. It has been posted here on several occasions that Black male Brits do not date/marry Black female Brits unless they are biracial. I don’t know if this is true or not. If it is, things can always change.

  23. doddaa says:

    white folk are so eager to put her with a white man…so busy claiming she’s w/leto and she is not thinking about him lol

  24. vvvoid says:

    My ex fiance is Somali Canadian, we met K’Naan and his hooyo (mom) at the market once. Nice guy, very handsome, he is from a very different clan than my ex who is Isaaq, but they got on well and we hung out with him again at a Somali restaurant a week later. Go Lupita. I can’t imagine his mother approves of Lupita, she would be considered a Bantu, Somali mothers can be very racist unfortunately. I won my ex’s hooyo over eventually but for the first year she referred to me as “gaalo dhillo” (white whore) lol. Granted, K’Naan’s mom seemed way less crazy than my former would-be mother in law.

  25. vvvoid says:

    And no, he is no thug. He is very gentile and highly intelligent, a poet and a credit to the genre.

    • vvvoid says:

      Somalis do not consider themselves of the same race as most other Africans. I remember watching TV with my ex’s father Ahmed, he saw 50 Cent come on and remarked “he would fetch good price at market”…very deadpan. He was kind of joking and kind of not joking. I was confused by their racism, naturally it offended me but it was also very curious. They are black in skin tone but they have thin noses, etc, they descriminate against what they call “bantus” and they don’t use the term in a tribal sense.Liban’s mom was crazy in all sorts of ways but she grew on me. I gave her a pass considering the brutal trauma and loss she endured before they fled Somalia. As I said in another post, it was beyond horrific. She was never the same after that.

  26. brionne says:

    Accomplished women do sometimes hook up with unexpected guys. Beyonce married a former drug deAler. Whitney Houston married Bobby Brown. Halle Berry and any of her guys.