"I Was Like, 'This Isn't Right'"

Amandla Stenberg was in the running to portray Shuri in the blockbuster hit Black Panther until she dropped out of the race. The young star tells ESSENCE why she stopped pursuing what would have been the gig of a lifetime.

“One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther,” Amandla reveals. “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 adds, “I thought that it wouldn’t be right for me as a biracial, light-skinned American to be playing [the role]. The young star continues, “I don’t think visually it [would’ve] make 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.”

Amandla Stenberg has been quite vocal about diversity and representation in show business. “I’m just someone who cannot fake it,” the young actress told media after delivering a smash hit performance in Hunger Games in 2012. “I can only do something with my full heart invested or just not do it at all,” Amandla added.

“I also just like to play characters that I believe in, that are three-dimensional, that I think are worth it,” she shared. “I don’t really want to have to diminish myself to something less nuanced or less authentic just because those roles don’t normally exist for someone like me.”

What role will Amandla Stenberg say yes to? You’ll have to follow this young star to find out! Stay tuned for more celebrity kids news!

Photo: Getty Images



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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