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

The Future of Sustainable Packaging: Dow introduces INNATE™ TF Polyethylene Resins for Tenter Frame Biaxial Orientation

Originally published on Dow.com Answering the industry needs of high performance, consumer convenience, and recyclability, Dow is excited to announce an innovative and revolutionary brand extension to the family of INNATE™ Precision Packaging Resins. INNATE™ TF Polyethylene Resins for Tenter Frame Biaxial Orientation are bringing commercial viability to a long-desired packaging goal:…

black female exec

5 Ways to Enhance Your Executive Presence

Advancing your career and finding the right employer and position fit doesn’t have to be complicated. There are things you can do each day to advance toward your dream job and thrive at work. The following article is part of a 5 Ways Series that offers resources and tips on…

AT&T: Leading with Listening and Four Key Pillars Supporting Transformation – People, Process, Technology and Culture

Originally published on ATT.com The first blog in the series discussed how companies need to invest in creating Transformational DNA. The second blog defined the five characteristics of Transformational DNA. At its core, any service organization must embody humility. This means leading with listening. It’s been critical to ensuring adoption across our organization. As…

AbbVie: Scientists Rock! Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Originally published on AbbVie.com Scientists Rock! is a monthly Q&A where we pull an AbbVie scientist out of the lab to hear what makes them tick. This month we travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, to chat with Samantha Brecht, associate scientist, AbbVie Foundational Neuroscience Center. Once upon time, in…