March 1, 2018
Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for A+E Networks/Lifetime
Now this is something you hardly ever see in our community. Amandla Stenberg revealed she turned down Black Panther because she was aware of how her lighter complexion may have been perceived.
In a conversation at the TIFF Next Wave Festival, the 19-year-old explained why she walked away from the Ryan Coogler directed box office hit, “One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther. I got really, really close and they were like, ‘do you want to continue fighting for this?’ And I was like, this isn’t right.”
And while there are Africans of every hue, Stenberg’s selflessness stemmed from a divisive hump African-Americans still can’t get over — colorism.
“These are all dark skin actors playing Africans and I feel like it would have just been off to see me as a bi-racial American with a Nigerian accent just pretending that I’m the same color as everyone else in the movie,” she said.
She continued, “I recognize 100 percent that there are spaces that I should not take up and when I do take up a space it’s because I’ve thought really, really critically about it and I’ve consulted people I really trust and it feels right.”
While we’re not sure which role Stenberg was offered (our best guess is Princess Shuri, played by Letitia Wright), kudos to the young actress for her self-awareness in a competitive industry. With young people like her and the Harvard bound Yara Shahidi, our future just might prove to be alright.
TELL US: Do you think Amandla made the right decision?