LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Amandla Stenberg attends "Dear Evan Hansen" Los Angeles Premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall on September 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/FilmMagic)
Movies - TV
The Reason Amandla Stenberg Walked Away From Black Panther
Amandla Stenberg has firmly established herself as an actor since "The Hunger Games," starring in films like "The Hate U Give" and "Bodies Bodies Bodies." In the upcoming live-action series "The Acolyte," Stenberg will go to the "Star Wars" galaxy after almost entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe en route.
In an interview with Variety in 2018, Stenberg revealed she had been in the running to play King T'Challa's sassy, STEM-loving sister, Shuri, in the 2018 MCU movie "Black Panther." The role ultimately went to Letitia Wright, in part because Stenberg stepped away from the film of her own volition.
Stenberg explained, "That was not a space that I should have taken up." She later elaborated, "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."
Stenberg's comments allude to the larger issue of colorism in Hollywood, in which actors of color with darker skin are given fewer opportunities to star in films and TV series than actors from the same racial group with lighter skin. Stenberg deserves praise for recognizing the value ‌of representation, although doing so cost her a major career opportunity.