Screenshot from HBO's "The Shop"

Amandla Stenberg Passed on 'Black Panther' Role to Make Room for Darker-Skinned Actors

Amandla Stenberg, 19, best known for her role in “The Hunger Games,” explained in a recent conversation at the TIFF Next Wave Festival in Toronto why she walked away from the audition process for Ryan Coogler’s box office smash, “Black Panther.”


“One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from ‘Black Panther,'” she told CBC Arts. “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.”

There are Africans of all complexions, but Stenberg’s reasoning for walking away has to do with colorism in Hollywood. In roles available for Black women, it’s typically women with lighter skin tones that are cast.

“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.”

As a teenager, Stenberg became vocal about issues pertaining to race and society. In 2015, as an assignment for history class Stenberg created the video “Don’t Cash Crop on My Cornrows,” which went viral. In the video that currently has 2 million views on YouTube she discusses Black natural hair in mainstream culture and explains her thoughts on cultural appropriation.

Similar to Stenberg’s sentiment that her lighter skin provides her privilege in the industry, Tamika Katon-Donegal, an actress based in Los Angeles, told DiversityInc that both complexion and hair texture matter.

“In terms of the business, there’s still a lot of privilege, I think, that I’m afforded as a Black woman who has hair that’s curlier than a Black woman that has coarser hair,” she said.

Stenberg’s talk of colorism in the entertainment industry is a conversation that has been going on for years. Last month, while promoting his new book, Mathew Knowles, father of superstar Beyonc Knowles Carter, said his daughter’s career received a boost because of colorism.

“When it comes to Black females, who are the people who get their music played on pop radio” he said to Ebony. “Mariah Carey, Rihanna, the female rapper Nicki Minaj, my kids [Beyonc and Solange], and what do they all have in common”

The chart-topping artists he mentioned are lighter-skinned Black women.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Latest News

Black Lives Matter face mask for preventing spread of COVID-19

BLM T-shirts and Trump Masks Cause Uproar at Early Polling Locations; New Credit Cards Allow Trans Individuals to Use Preferred Name; and More

BLM T-shirts and Trump masks cause uproar at early polling locations. Voters’ choice of clothing when heading to the polls in Florida and Tennessee has begun making headlines across the country. The Washington Post reported that Miami police officer Daniel Ubeda has come under fire for wearing a Trump-endorsing face…

Close-up image of COVID-19 virus

Black and Latinx Individuals Increasingly Worried About Impact of COVID-19 on Career; Potential Spike in New Disabilities Due to Pandemic; and More

More than 50% of Blacks and Latinx individuals significantly worried about finances and career prospects due to pandemic. COVID-19 continues to be top of mind for most of the country, especially as cases appear to be worsening in our current third wave of the illness. But a new survey of…

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.)

Rep. Jahana Hayes Attacked in Racist Campaign Town Hall; 1 in 4 Americans Unemployed According to New Data from Axios; and More

Racist trolls interrupt Zoom town hall hosted by Jahana Hayes, Connecticut’s first Black congresswoman. “I am not OK,” wrote Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) in a moving post describing a violent attack that took place at one of her recent campaign events. Ten minutes into the Zoom town hall for one…

reproductive, benefits, workplace

The Importance of Reproductive Benefits in the Workplace

With President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to take the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, the issue of reproductive rights has again become a hot button topic. While Ginsburg repeatedly voted against restrictions on birth control and abortion access, the historically conservative Barrett is expected to tip the…

International African American Museum Receives New Markets Tax Credits from TD Community Development Corporation

Originally published on newscenter.td.com. TD’s investment will help the non-profit create 186 new jobs, exhibit space TD Community Development Corporation (TDCDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of TD Bank, N.A., announced today its allocation of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, to assist…

TIAA Survey Reveals Saving for Retirement is the No. 1 Contributor to Feeling Financially Resilient for Working Individuals, but 60% of People are Falling Behind Goals

Originally published on TIAA.com. The global COVID-19 pandemic not only presents a tremendous threat to people’s health and lives, but is also challenging the financial security of families across the nation. According to new research released today by TIAA, a leading financial services provider, nearly 60 percent of adults say…