Amandla Stenberg Walked Away From "Black Panther" Because Of Her Light Skin

“I recognize 100 percent that there are spaces that I should not take up.”

When a movie seems so close to perfect, it’s hard to imagine making any changes to it…especially when it comes to the cast. That’s how I feel about Black Panther.

When a movie seems so close to perfect, it's hard to imagine making any changes to it...especially when it comes to the cast. That's how I feel about Black Panther.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

But in order to put a great cast together, they must go through an audition process. And it turns out, there was another talented actress up for the role of Shuri (played brilliantly by Letitia Wright in the film): Amandla Stenberg.

But in order to put a great cast together, they must go through an audition process. And it turns out, there was another talented actress up for the role of Shuri (played brilliantly by Letitia Wright in the film): Amandla Stenberg.

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images, Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

In a recent interview with CBC Arts, the 19-year-old California native opened up about walking away from the role due to her lighter complexion.

In a recent interview with CBC Arts, the 19-year-old California native opened up about walking away from the role due to her lighter complexion.

Leon Bennett / Getty Images

“One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther. I got really, really close.”

Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

“They were like, ‘Do you want to continue fighting for this?’ And I was like, this isn’t right.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

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

Paras Griffin

“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.”

Larry Busacca / Getty Images

“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.”

Mike Windle

“I don’t think visually it would’ve made sense and it wasn’t appropriate for me to go after that role. Black Panther is one of the only films that we have that has darker-skinned representation. That’s what was so beautiful about it.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Fans of the film have expressed mixed thoughts about Amandla’s comments. There are some who completely understood where she was coming from:

Fans of the film have expressed mixed thoughts about Amandla's comments. There are some who completely understood where she was coming from:

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