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

Dow Named Among Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators in 2020

Originally posted on Dow.com Dow announced it was named among the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators by Clarivate Analytics in its 2020 report. The annual report identifies and celebrates the world’s most innovative organizations that successfully develop valuable patented inventions that also have strong commercialization potential based on market reach…

AIG Insurance Careers Month

In honor of the 5th Annual Insurance Career’s Month, AIG is proudly showcasing its dedicated employees. Throughout the month of February, several “Up Close” features have been created following the 2020 themes of philanthropy, diversity and inclusion and insurance as a purpose-driven industry. Priya Kumar from the Investments team shares her…

LGBTQ diversity

More LGBTQ+ Employees Comfortable Expressing Sexuality, Gender at Work

There have been significant strides in LGBTQ diversity and inclusion in the workplace nationally and globally. For example, according to the Human Rights Campaign report, A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, 46% of LGBTQ workers say they are closeted at work, compared to 50% in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2008 Degrees of…

Wells Fargo’s Gigi Dixon Contributes Black History Month Piece to Business Insider

Georgette “Gigi” Dixon is senior vice president and senior director of external relations for national constituents at Wells Fargo. In this role, she leads and coordinates Wells Fargo’s engagement and outreach to national non-government organizations and key stakeholders with the goal of promoting Wells Fargo’s policy priorities. She published a…

Accenture Technology Vision 2020: From Tech-Clash to Trust, the Focus Must Be on People

Originally posted on Accenture.com To compete and succeed in a world where digital is everywhere, companies need a new focus on balancing “value” with “values,” aligning their drive to create business value with their customers’ and employees’ values and expectations, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2020. The 20th edition of Accenture’s…

AbbVie to Present at the SVB Leerink 9th Annual Global Healthcare Conference

Originally posted on AbbVie.com AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, will participate in the SVB Leerink 9th Annual Global Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, February 25.  Michael Severino, M.D., vice chairman and president and Robert A. Michael, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will present at 9:30 a.m. Central time. A live audio webcast…