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Amandla Stenberg On How Colorism Influenced Her Decision to Turn Down ‘Black Panther’ Role

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*Amandla Stenberg was set to have a role in “Black Panther,” but as a biracial actress, the daughter of a black mother and a white father, she felt her appearance wouldn’t compliment the overall aesthetics of the Marvel blockbuster. 

“One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther,” she said during her interview with the CBC’s Amanda Parris. “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.”

Stenberg meant that playing a biracial African among a group of actors playing similar characters, but of a darker complexion, made her feel she would be out-of-place. While she didn’t share what role she was originally going after, Amandla decided the opportunity was more fitting for someone else.

OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Solange Knowles’ Relationship with Father (Mathew Knowles) Wasn’t the Best

“These are all dark skin actors playing Africans and I feel like it would have just been off to see m [sic] as a bi-racial American with a Nigerian accent just pretending that I’m the same color as everyone else in the movie,” she said.

Twitter user Bae-ricua seems to agree, writing: More Kudos to Amandla Stenberg for embracing activism that isn’t performative. She truly took a hit in her own wallet to address colorism.”

Amandla says it “was really challenging,” walking away from “Black Panther,” but I have no regrets,” she said.

“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.”

During the interview, Stenberg also revealed that she once asked her friend and mentor Solange Knowles for advice: “Girl, how do I navigate these white institutions?”

Her answer: “I got you. Here’s the tea: be sneaky.”

Read Amandla’s full interview with CBC here.

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