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

Humana Announces Health Care Provider Initiative to Help Ease Financial and Administrative Stress During Coronavirus Pandemic

Originally posted on Humana.com Leading health and well-being company Humana Inc., announced actions designed to help provide financial and administrative relief for the health care provider community facing unprecedented strain during the coronavirus pandemic. First, Humana is implementing simplified and expedited claims processing, in order to get reimbursement payments to providers…

hershey

The Hershey Company: Togetherness During Uncertain Times

Originally published on thehersheycompany.com by Thomas Smuda, Vice President, Retail Staying true to our purpose, to make more moments of goodness, and to our values is important in uncertain times We’re making safety-first decisions for employees while still helping retailers maintain local food supply Hershey’s culture and spirit of connections…

Businesses Focus on Containing Costs and Protecting Employees, According to PwC COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey

Originally published on PwC.com. Only 16% of CFOs are considering issuing layoffs in the next month The second release of the PwC COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey reveals growing concerns around the business and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic among chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance executives. Based on responses collected from…

Mastercard: COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Awards $20 Million in Initial Grants to Fund Clinical Trials

Originally published on newsroom.mastercard.com. Researchers at three institutions in the U.S. and U.K. receive grants to advance studies of repurposed drugs and novel antibodies in preventing COVID-19 The partners in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator announced grants of $20 million to three institutions—the University of Washington, University of Oxford, and La…

Georgia Power Invites Georgians to Say ‘Thank You’ to Employees During Thank a Lineman Month

Originally published on southerncompany.com. For the eighth year in a row, Georgia Power and other electric utilities in Georgia are celebrating and thanking utility workers across the state. The daily work done by linemen in Georgia’s communities is always recognized, but their work is especially pronounced during today’s challenges from the escalating COVID-19 pandemic…

Mastercard: Learning @ Home with Girls4Tech™ Connect

Originally published on newsroom.mastercard.com. Mastercard Provides Free Online STEM Lessons to Children, Teachers and Parents Mastercard extended access to its signature STEM curriculum, Girls4Tech™, through a suite of new online, creative educational resources. The program has been designed to help parents and teachers engage and inspire kids, ages 8-12. Through…