This Hunger Games actress turned down a role in Black Panther because she was ‘too light’, and white people can learn a lot from her
‘It didn’t feel right’
by Ari Bines
You may not have noticed, but little Ru from the Hunger Games has blossomed into a young woman is and giving adults a run for their money.
In a recent Essence interview, 19-year-old Amandla Stenburg admitted she was offered a role in the revolutionary Black Panther film, but decided to turn it down because she believed she was "too light."
Her reasoning had nothing to do with whether or not the movie would be a success, or arguments of paychecks, but because she wanted to give darker-skinned Black women a spotlight.
While the Everything, Everything star was originally considered to play the breakout role of Black Panther's little sister, Shuri—ultimately played by Letitia Wright—she said she thought it wouldn't be right for her.
"I was in the audition process for it, then I decided to not continue with the process because I thought that it wouldn't be right for me as a biracial, light-skinned American to be playing the role," she told Essence.
Kudos to Amandla Stenberg for embracing activism that isn't performative. She truly took a hit in her own wallet to address colorism. pic.twitter.com/TNkUmDyXc1
— Bae-ricua (@mathewrodriguez) March 1, 2018
Stenberg is of mixed race, but more specifically, she's Black and Jewish. While many have praised the film for its timely tale and impeccable visual appeal, the all-Black cast has proven that other forms of representation can succeed.
There's been a history of film projects that have stepped onto the mainstream screen in which white actors and actresses played roles that were more practical to be played by a person of color. But for some, the money was too good to pass up, the role was too good to turn down, or executives knew it was what would get butts in seats.
More than likely, you'll call me racist for this, but there are some situations where one should learn to embrace their place. Not because I hate integration and that segregation should resurface, but because this is the only way we can learn from one another's experiences.
I'm not implying that you absolutely have to give up your seat at the table, but if you notice someone sitting on the floor, constantly getting stepped on, consider standing up for a change.