How race led Amandla Stenberg to bow out of Black Panther casting
Amandla Stenberg has revealed that she was up for a role in Black Panther but chose to walk away because she didn’t want to take a role that could’ve gone to a darker-skinned actress.
The Hunger Games alum sat down for an in-depth interview with CBC Arts, where she opened up about being a biracial actress and why it informed her decision to take herself out of the running for one of the biggest films of the year.
“One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther,” Stenberg told interviewer Amanda Parris. “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.”
The 19-year-old actress said she had “no regrets” about her decision.
“These are all dark skin actors playing Africans and I feel like it would have just been off to see me as a biracial American with a Nigerian accent just pretending that I’m the same color as everyone else in the movie,” she said. “That was really challenging, to make that decision, but I have no regrets. 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.”
Stenberg didn’t reveal which role she auditioned for, but she was presumably in the running to play T’Challa’s genius little sister Shuri. The role ultimately went to 24-year-old Guyanese-British actress Letitia Wright.
Stenberg most recently starred in the romantic drama Everything, Everything, and she’ll next be seen in the film adaptation of Angie Thomas’ best-selling novel The Hate U Give.