Amandla Stenberg says she turned down a role in ‘Black Panther’ because she is light skinned

Bisexual film star Amandla Stenberg has opened up about the reasons she turned down a role in the critically acclaimed Black Panther movie, saying it is because she felt uncomfortable because she is biracial and light skinned.

Describing turning the role down as a “challenge”, the Hunger Games star said she got “really close” to taking the role of a Wakandan native in ‘Black Panther’.

She told CBC: “One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from ‘Black Panther’.


“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.”

Elaborating on her reasons for turning down the role, she said: “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.

“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.”

Stenberg was praised for recognising her light-skin privilege which made her uncomfortable taking a role alongside dark-skinned actors with who she would be equating her own skin colour.

Some argued that light-skinned Africans living in the continent would mean that casting Stenberg wouldn’t be a problem.

A Facebook commenter said: “Yes, because we don’t have light skinned Africans.”
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But another added: “This is incredibly interesting. Amanda sets an example that I think others with her privileges should adhere to in regards to stepping down to give more visibility to darker-skinned black actresses. Well said.”

Others simply described the bisexual star as a “queen”, and were clearly sad that she was not cast in ‘Black Panther’.

One Twitter user wrote: “Amandla is a queen, but whoever thought it would’ve been a good idea to cast her in Black Panther should be ashamed.”

But others argued the fictional country’s history, saying the fact that it was not a colonised nation, it would appear inaccurate to cast Stenberg in a role as a Wakandan.

Marvel last year moved to quash speculation that two warriors in the film ‘Black Panther’ would be in a lesbian relationship.

The film, released in February 2018, is about T’Challa, the superhero king and protector of African nation Wakanda, who featured in ‘Captain America: Civil War’.

Fans had been excited by the prospect of Okoye and Ayo, two of the titular character’s bodyguards, getting together as Ayo and fellow female warrior Aneka do in the comics.

But they were disappointed and accused filmmakers of queerbaiting and lesbian erasure when it was announced that the pair would not be in a romantic relationship with each other. 

Black Panther’s screenwriter has also opened up about the lesbian romance which was cut from the film.


Roxane Gay has since spoken out about not being invited to the Black Panther premiere in spite of the fact that she wrote one of the Marvel comic book series’ titles.

Gay, who wrote the Marvel comics World of Wakanda series, explored the other characters in the world where Black Panther is set. 

Sharing her sorrow at not being invited to the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Twitter, the writer said that her feelings were hurt when she discovered she would not be receiving an invite to the premiere.